In March 2020, Netflix debuted what might be its most shocking and bingeworthy true crime series to date. Tiger King tells the story of the rise and fall of Joseph Schreibvogel, a.k.a. Joe Exotic, the charismatic proprietor of an exotic animal park in Oklahoma.
But Exotic was more than just a zookeeper and a manager: He had a knack for self-promotion, positioning himself as just as much of an attraction as the close encounters with lions and tigers offered by his park.
Tiger King describes, in increasingly bizarre detail, the complicated personal and professional life of Joe Exotic, which culminates in an elaborate assassination plot against Carole Baskin, a Florida-based operator of a wild cat preserve determined to get Joe’s business, and others like it, shut down. It’s also a story that involves other cat aficionados, polygamy, cult-like arrangements, exploitation, shady business practices, and accidental death.
Despite seven, 45 minute or so-long episodes, filmmakers couldn’t fit the entire story into Tiger King. Here are some pertinent details that didn’t make it into the series.
Joe Exotic is a serial monogamist, if not polygamist, boasting of his not-exactly legal simultaneous marriages to John Finlay and Travis Maldonado. After splitting with Finlay, and Maldonado’s death, Exotic recoupled with Dillon Passage, but that’s not the entire history of Exotic’s many husbands.
According to Intelligencer, in the late ’80s Exotic worked as a security guard at a Dallas gay bar, where he met a 19-year-old cowboy named Brian Rhyne. They lived together for well over a decade, and were married at the bar where they met.
Rhyne was also around for many of the events depicted in Tiger King. He was there when Exotic’s older brother Garold died in 1997, and when Exotic opened the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in his memory. Keep watching the video to see all the huge details that didn’t make it into Tiger King.
Joe Exotic’s many husbands | 1:09
A less-than-magic act | 2:17
About that music career | 3:16
Rick Kirkham’s second fire | 3:58
Carole Baskin’s disappearing husband | 4:54
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