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Louis Theroux reveals what he really thinks about Joe Exotic as he reminisces over his 2011 documentary

Lily Wakefield April 6, 2020
Louis Theroux and Joe Exotic

Louis Theroux first introduced the world to Joe Exotic in 2011. (mrneilforsyth/ Twitter)

Louis Theroux has reminded everyone that he was the first to make the world aware of Joe Exotic, star of the hit Netflix docuseries Tiger King, and said that he was ‘hard to dislike’.

In an opinion piece for The Times, Theroux reminisced on meeting Exotic for his 2011 documentary America’s Most Dangerous Pets.

He wrote: “What stood out, apart from the blonde mullet and the nervous energy, was the blue eyeliner tattooed on the rims under his eyes. He was a strange mix of butch and femme signifiers.

“He carried a gun, which never left his side, and handcuffs, but there were also the aforementioned piercings and an air of heightened emotion.

“Altogether, though, Joe struck me as likeable and friendly. I warmed to him, and his ridiculousness was endearing rather than annoying.”

He added that while the running of his GW Exotic Animal Park was not necessarily praiseworthy, “it was hard to dislike the man himself”.

Theroux said that while filming his documentary, a tornado hit a town near the animal park.

He wrote: “In the event, the tornado passed us by, but an atmosphere of incipient catastrophe never quite let up the whole time I was with Joe.

“He seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis, constantly on the verge of financial ruin, handling low-level bites and maulings, and being hounded by ‘animal rights people’, as he put it.”

Louis Theroux binge-watched Tiger King.

Louis Theroux admitted that he binge-watched the series, but added that it left him feeling “envious”.

While he “greatly enjoyed” the series, he said that he had a “sense of envy and missed opportunity that I wasn’t involved in what has turned out to be a global smash”.

Despite Theroux’s description of Exotic as “warm and friendly”, Tiger King creators recently branded the big cat enthusiast “categorically racist”. 

Last week, footage resurfaced on Twitter of Exotic going on a racist rant in a tiger enclosure.

In the video he is seen saying: “What’s going on in this country, it’s absolutely pathetic. I can’t say the n-word, but you can get on YouTube and watch any black man’s rap video and they’re calling each other the n-word.

“What the hell, is this discrimination? I’m white and I can’t say the n-word and they can?”

More: America's Most Dangerous Pets, docuseries, Joe Exotic, louis theroux, netflix, Tiger King

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