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What Joe Exotic really thinks of tigers, why John Finlay is always topless and 7 other eye-opening reveals from The Tiger King and I

Reiss Smith April 13, 2020
John Finlay and Joe Exotic

John Finlay explained why he was never seen with a top during Tiger King. (Netflix)

Tiger King gave fans (almost) everything they wanted with a special reunion episode.

“The Tiger King and I”, released on Netflix on April 12, brought together the stars of the documentary phenomenon – with the exceptions of Joe Exotic, who is in prison, and Carole Baskin, who declined.

Comedian Joel McHale presided over a Zoom reunion, quizzing the isolated stars about their lives since the documentary concluded, and what they really thought about the Exotic-Baskin conspiracy.

The 40-minute special gave us a few fresh insights, and offered some surprising nuggets about Exotic and his wild story.

1. The Tiger King is apparently scared of tigers.

According to Rick Kirkham, the TV producer seen filming a reality show about Joe Exotic in Tiger King, the once-zoo owner is scared of tigers. Really.

“The one thing that was not pointed out in the docuseries that is really important to know too, Joe was terrified of big cats,” he claimed.

“He was scared to death of lions and tigers. In the shots that you see in there, where he is in with two tigers, the white one and the other one, the white one is blind and the other one is on tranquillisers.

“It’s idiotic to think how he has become famous as The Tiger King when he is so terrified of big cats.”

Tiger King star Joe Exotic
Joe Exotic was apparently scared of tigers. (Netflix)

2. Joe Exotic allegedly shot a horse to feed to his tigers.

Kirkham also painted a troubling picture of Exotic killing other animals to feed to his tigers.

He claimed that the zoo owner was once visited by a woman who asks him to look after a horse for her.

According to Kirkham, Exotic asked him to start filming as he promised the woman he would do just that.

The second she left, he said, Exotic pulled out a gun and shot the horse dead in its trailer.

“He then cut it up with a chainsaw and fed it to the tigers that day,” he claimed.

3. Rick Kirkham doesn’t think Exotic will survive prison.

“I don’t think Joe Exotic will leave prison alive,” he said.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to stand it. Even if he got out with good behaviour in 10, 12 years, he won’t live that long.”

He continued: “I tell you what’s really eating him up, is people like me, who are getting so much attention instead of him.

“He’s not getting any of the money that is coming out, he doesn’t get any of the accolades, he doesn’t get any of the opportunities, he doesn’t get anything except three meals a day.”

4. John Finlay has a brand new look.

Finally showed off a brand-new set of pearly whites as he proudly revealed he is now six years sober.

He also admitted that he wasn’t happy with the way producers made him look like a “drugged out hillbilly”.

“At that time [of filming Tiger King] I was four to five years clean,” he said.

“When my daughter was born I decided to never touch another drug ever again.”

5. Finlay also explained his apparent aversion to tops.

As in, T-shirts. Exotic’s third husband was asked by McHale why he was shirtless throughout the entire Netflix series.

His answer was simple.

“I got tattoos, why not show them off?. It was a little cold but it was fun”.

6. Joshua Dial once saw a bear rip off a man’s finger.

Dial made a brief mention of his shock claim, recalling: “I once saw a guy get his finger bit off by a bear outside my office window.

“Stuff that I’ll never see again in my life.”

7. He never received counselling after Travis death.

Tiger King showed viewers how Dial witnessed Exotic’s husband Travis Maldonado shooting himself in 2017.

“The thing is, I had to go to that office every day and sit in that same chair and look at that bullet hole in the wall every day for a year and a half after Travis killed himself,” he told host Jole McHale.

“And I never was able to get counselling, ’cause Joe didn’t help me and neither did Jeff Lowe.”

He added that he is currently trying to raise money to pay for counselling.

Tiger King's Joshua Diale, one of the last people to see Joe Exotic's late husband Travis Maldonado alive, never received counselling. (Netflix)
Tiger King’s Joshua Diale, one of the last people to see Joe Exotic’s late husband Travis Maldonado alive, never received counselling. (Netflix)

8. John Reinke said Joe Exotic blew up his golf cart

Kirkham wasn’t the only one to make allegations against Exotic.

Head zookeeper John Reinke told McHale that he started “blowing everything up towards the end”.

“I mean hell, he blew up my golf cart in my damn cabin,” he said.

“Knocked the windshield out of my golf cart, blew a hole in my cabin, blew a window out.”

9. Saff trusts the tiger who ripped his arm off more than he does Joe Exotic.

When asked whether he trusted Exotic or the tiger who mauled his left arm off more, Saff replied: “The tiger. I never stopped trusting the tiger.”

He added that while he thinks “justice was served”, he doesn’t want to see Exotic die in prison.

More: Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic, John Finlay, Tiger King

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