Tiger King’s Doc Antle Was on Stage During Britney Spears’ 2001 VMA Performance

Another plot twist. Doc Antle, who is featured in the Netflix hit Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, was on stage with Britney Spears during her iconic performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

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After the true crime series premiered earlier this month, eagle-eyed viewers took to social media to point out that the controversial wildlife enthusiast, 60, was the tiger handler in the cage behind the Grammy winner, 38, as she performed “I’m a Slave 4 U” with a python draped over her shoulders at the September 2001 ceremony.

Britney Spears and Doc Antle Tiger King 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Snake
Britney Spears performs during the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards as Doc Antle is seen in the background. Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage

Some Twitter users also shared a photo of Spears sitting in the audience at the 2002 VMAs next to a woman who appears to be Carole Baskin, another Tiger King subject. However, other fans said it was simply a look-alike.

Antle confirmed to MTV in August 2016 that the golden tabby tiger who was featured in the Princess of Pop’s performance 15 years earlier has since died.

Britney Spears 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Snake
Britney Spears performs with a snake at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. Beth A Keiser/AP/Shutterstock

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Since hitting Netflix on March 20, Tiger King has become an international phenomenon, with many viewers watching while self-quarantining amid the coronavirus pandemic. The seven-episode series focuses on the lives of big cat collector Joseph “Joe Exotic” Schreibvogel Maldonado-Passage and conservationist Baskin.

Doc Antle Tiger King
Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle talks to Chance, a leopard appearing in the movie ‘Mighty Joe Young.’ Newscom/(Mega Agency

The show follows the deeply interconnected society of big cat enthusiasts and their eccentric lives, from Joe Exotic’s marriages and White House run to the 1997 disappearance of Baskin’s millionaire husband, Don Lewis. The two subjects are involved in a years-long feud over how they run their respective businesses, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and Big Cat Rescue. Their drama comes to a head when Joe Exotic is arrested and found guilty of hiring someone to attempt to kill Baskin. He is now in prison.

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Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is now streaming on Netflix.

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