Joe Exotic’s Husband Speaks Out Against Tiger King Portrayal: I Am NOT a Toothless Meth-Head!
At this point, we’re pretty sure every person on the planet has watched Tiger King in its entirety and cranked out a few dozen memes featuring Joe Exotic.
We don’t have time to crunch the numbers on that, as we’re about to watch episode three for the fifth time, and this Carole Baskin murder mystery isn’t gonna solve itself.
Anyway, by now, you’re probably well aware that not a single one of the major players from the Netflix documentary comes away looking like anything other than a complete trash person.
Carole might have fed her husband to tigers; Doc Antle is the R. Kelly of the big cat world; and Joe Exotic … well, where do we even begin with Joe Exotic?
There’s a reason this imprisoned, mulleted feline enthusiast has managed to single-handedly capture the imagination of a quarantined nation:
He’s a one-of-a-kind character who’s led an almost-unbelievably bonkers life.
Despite his many, many eccentricities, Joe has an undeniable charisma.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t always use his powers for good.
One of the darkest segments of Tiger King involves the accidental shooting death of Travis Maldonado.
The doc’s delicate balancing of humor and pathos is perfectly encapsulated in a funeral scene in which Joe — clad in a cowboy hat and priest collar — offers up an anecdote about Travis’ testicles before breaking out in song.
Like so much of what we see in Tiger King, the scene is funny, while the real life situation was anything but.
Those who were closest to the couple say Joe lured Travis into a relationship when he was young and vulnerable, and he used hard drugs to keep Maldonado around.
Travis isn’t here to tell his story, of course, but John Finlay — who was married to Joe at the same time as Maldonado — is opening up for the the first time about his feelings on Tiger King, sudden fame, and the insanity of life with Joe Exotic.
It seems Finlay is not a fan of the popular doc series, as he alleges that it made him “look like a drugged-out hillbilly.”
That’s certainly true, but Finlay probably could have helped matters by wearing a shirt for at least some of his interview.
“They never showed the new and improved me,” he complained in recent interview with Entertainment Tonight.
These days, Finlay is a father with a brand new set of pearly whites, and he wishes some portion of his happy ending had been documented for Netflix audiences.
As for life at Joe Exotic’s zoo — Finlay says it was even crazier than it seems.
“You never knew what was gonna happen in a day,” he told ET.
“Nothing was ever the same. Nothing was ever quiet, nobody ever was the same every day. Something was always off about some people or something was just not right. When you’re around the animals like that and the atmosphere changes, you tend to notice a lot more.”
Life with Joe was, of course, a crapshoot, and Finlay says the entire staff at the zoo lived in fear of Exotic’s mood swings.
“You didn’t know whether he was in a good mood or bad mood or what he was gonna come at you with,” Finlay said.
“He took so much away from the animals because it was a constant fight, constant battle,” added Finlay.
There’s gonna be a loser in every situation that happens and they were the ones that ultimately lost everything.”
Fortunately, Finlay is one of very few Tiger King stars who was able to build a healthy, stable life for himself in the years since Exotic was imprisoned.
He says he’s looking forward to moving on from his 15 minutes of fame, but he still has ideas about who should play him in the inevitable Tiger King feature film.
We agree that Channing Tatum is the right man for the job.
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