The Channels top 5 most shocking moments from Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’

Valerie van den Broek, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The hit Netflix documentary series “Tiger King” had its audience glued to their screens for each episode, and we are here today to give you a recap of the biggest twists and most shocking moments.

*Note: this article does contain spoilers*

Arm torn off by tiger—Kelci Saffery (Saff)

Episode two starts off with the shocking video of the accident where a tiger badly damaged the GW Zoo employee’s arm. When he was rushed to the hospital and being stabilized, he made the decision to let the doctor amputate his arm. Saff admitted to Oklahoma News 4 KFOR that it was his fault and that he should not have stuck his arm through the cage, but instead used a stick. Amazingly, he returned to work five days after the amputation of his arm.

Accidental suicide—Travis Maldonado

California born Travis Maldonado was only 19 years old when he met his future husband Joe Exotic. Although it is mentioned that both of Joe Exotic’s lovers, Maldonado and John Finley, did not self-identify as gay, the three of them were all married together. After Finley left Exotic for a secretary working at the zoo, it was only Maldonado and Exotic. According to the show, Maldonado had a serious drug addiction and was dependent on Exotic. When he was playing with a loaded gun in the office, showing off to Exotic’s campaign manager, Joshua Dial, he accidentally shot himself in the head and was killed instantly. In a later interview with KCTV 5 news, Dial explained how the day after the incident, he had to work in the same office for the rest of the year, next to where Maldonado shot himself. 

Singing career—Joe Exotic

When you listen to Exotic when he talks compared to his singing voice, you might notice that something doesn’t quite line up, and you would be correct. According to Vanity Fair, all clips of Exotic singing in his music videos are not him singing, but are actually country musicians Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton. The Netflix series does credit them for the tracks, although Exotic tried to hide this. When searching his songs on youtube, the real artists are not credited, only the band “Walking on the Edge,” which he maintains is his band.

Sanctuary or cult?—Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle

One of the characters in the series full of strange players that stood out to many was Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, the founder of The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) The show portrays his business as an almost cult-like atmosphere where his employees, mostly women, have to work from 7 a.m. until midnight every day, with little pay. According to Barbara Fisher, a former employee, Doc has multiple relationships with his employees, but he denies these allegations, saying he is a single man. He has also been accused of euthanizing tigers after their cub phase because they would be too big for his paid petting sessions with visitors. He also denies these allegations.

What really happened to Don Lewis?—Carole Baskin

Last but certainly not least: Carole Baskin. She is one of the most talked-about people online during the quarantine—so did she kill her late husband Don Lewis? In a statement on the Big Cat Rescue website, she states that she is deeply disappointed in Netflix for portraying her as culpable in the disappearance and death of her late husband when she was told the documentary would be about the treatment of big cats. Don Lewis, who disappeared in August of 1997, had filed a restraining order against Baskin, saying “This is the second time Carole has got angry enough to threaten to kill me.” Even though she denies the claims of killing her late husband, many think differently. Memes of Baskin killing Lewis spread like a wildfire and soon after Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister received more interest and tips for the case, telling CNN that he hopes he can close the cold case soon.