Mullets, murder and maulings: The wild ride that is Tiger King

The seven-part docuseries leaves viewers certain that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The seven-part docuseries leaves viewers certain that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Photo: imdb / Harbor Picture Company

Some of the scariest subcultures in the US involve gun ownership, country music and ridiculously elaborate mullets. 

Needless to say, enthusiasts of these elements frequently converge. But when you throw in big cat ownership, the results can be incendiary – and lethal, as Netflix’s Tiger King attests.

There are many odd things about America, but the fact the country now houses more tigers in private ownership than are found in the wild in all of Asia is a staggering statistic. 

Joe Exotic

Joe Exotic owns over 200 big cats at his private zoo in Oklahoma. Photo: imdb/Harbor Picture Company 

This fascinating Netflix documentary series centres around one of these big cat owners, the flamboyant “Joe Exotic”, who set up a private zoo with hundreds of animals on an Oklahoma horse farm in the 1990s. 

Joe’s increasing love of publicity and advanced paranoia had him preparing for a ‘small Waco’ when he attracted the attention of law enforcement, spurred on by the aggressive campaign of self-proclaimed big cat conservationist Carole Baskin. 

Carole Baskin

Baskin’s wardrobe and home decor appear to be exclusively cat-print. Photo: imdb/Harbor Picture Company

The fact that Carole wears nothing but leopard and tiger prints and confesses to camera that the cats in her sanctuary are substituting for the friends she never had as a child gives you an idea of the lunacy surrounding the world of big cat ownership, particularly after you throw in “Doc” Antle, a fellow tiger collector, cowboy and Steven Seagal wannabe. 

The fact that this weird feline saga devolves into a murder for hire plot should surprise no one who watches the first episode. 

Like Netflix’s The Jinx: the Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, this compelling documentary series allows the viewer to peek inside one of the truly bizarre corridors of the American Dream. 

Topics: Murder
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.