Getting answers. The first seven episodes of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness became a massive success — and left fans with many questions. Luckily, Joel McHale hosted an eighth episode, titled “The Tiger King and I,” in which he interviewed seven of the key members of the docuseries about what really happened, how they felt about the series and more.
They all also gave any update on Joe Exotic (whose real name is Maldonado-Passage), who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence. He was convicted on 17 charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire, for an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill zookeeper Carole Baskin.
During the reunion special, McHale interviewed Eric Cowie, the head zookeeper at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, the couple who took over the G.W. zoo, former zoo manager John Reinke, former G.W. animal keeper Kelci “Saff” Saffery, Joe’s former campaign manager Josh Dial, Joe’s ex John Finlay and Joe Exotic TV producer Rick Kirkman.
Baskin, 58, was not asked to be part of the docuseries but her publicist shared with Us Weekly that even if she was, she would not have participated due to the way she was portrayed in the special. In the series, there were many claims made that Baskin killed her second husband who disappeared in 1997. Authorities even reopened the case after the docuseries hit Netflix, despite Baskin repeatedly denying the claims.
“I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” the activist told the Tampa Bay Times in her first interview since the series on Thursday, April 10. “And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that.”
Her husband, Howard Baskin, added, “There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal.”
The couple claims they’re also getting death threats. “I’ve had to turn my phone off. I can’t tell the real ones from the fake ones because they’re always out of state numbers anyway,” she shared, noting that she can’t ride her bike anymore because it’s unsafe. She also saw a car waiting for her, a man filming and screaming at her.
However, she’s hopeful for the silver lining: “I really hope what will come of this is that law enforcement will take this seriously. We’ve all been screaming at the top of our lungs for 20 years that this abuse was happening, and no one was listening. Now the abuse is so apparent, I hope it will encourage them to take action on it and inspire Congress to do what they can to end cub petting and private possession of big cats.”
Scroll through the gallery below for the highlights from the reunion episode: