Tiger King Joe Exotic Made A Bizarre Appearance In Louis Theroux Documentary In 2011

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 02 Apr 2020 11:31


With Netflix’s Tiger King being the only TV show anyone can talk about at the moment, a previous Louis Theroux documentary featuring the ‘king’ has resurfaced.

It turns out Joe Exotic actually made his documentary debut nine years ago, in Louis’ 2011 programme America’s Most Dangerous Pets.


The documentary features the GW Zoo, where Louis Theroux follows Joe Exotic around his animal enclosures and observes Joe’s daily routine.


In the episode, Theroux asks Joe Exotic about how happy a tiger can be in an enclosure, as they can ‘roam for hundreds of miles’ in the wild – and Joe responds rather unusually.

He says:


Can you miss something you’ve never experienced? This cat has never been in an area to roam 100 miles so how can he miss that?

It’s kind of like, if you were born in a wheelchair are you sure you’re going to be happier walking instead of riding? Because you’ve never walked.

Moving swiftly on…

Louis watched the Netflix documentary himself, and took to Twitter to speak about his own previous encounter with the now jailed ‘tiger king’.

On Tuesday, March 31, the 49-year-old filmmaker and journalist tweeted:


Just finished watching #TigerKing on #Netflix. I have a lot of thoughts which I’ll post in a considered form in the next day or two. In the meantime, here is me and Joe back in the day and a link to the doc I did on player.

As he mentions, the documentary America’s Most Dangerous Pets is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer. It’s also available to watch on Netflix.

In Netflix’s seven-part Tiger King, we find out more about Joe’s unique life and his rivalry against Carole Baskin.


Joe is currently serving 22 years in prison after being found guilty of plotting Baskin’s murder.

Tiger King's Joe Exotic Suing From Prison For $94 MillionNetflix

Following the release of the popular docuseries, Carole has been blamed for the disappearance of her late husband Don Lewis (a topic which is featured heavily in the series) – something which she denies.

Don’s disappearance was dubbed a ‘cold case’ and following Tiger King‘s release, local police have reached out to the public for any information they might have on Don’s whereabouts after he was last seen in 1997.


Since Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister tweeted asking people for their help, they have reportedly gone on to receive around multiple tips regarding Don’s case.

Speaking to CNN, Sheriff Chronister said:

We are already receiving new tips and we hope to close this cold case soon with the help of the public.

Since the documentary came out we’ve been receiving about six tips a day related to this case. We are looking into each one thoroughly.

America’s Most Dangerous Pets is now streaming on both BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Tiger King is also streaming on Netflix.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Film and TV, BBC, Documentary, Louis Theroux, Netflix, Tiger King


The Independent and 1 other
  1. The Independent

    Tiger King: Joe Exotic made bizarre appearance on 2011 Louis Theroux documentary

  2. CNN

    Florida sheriff getting 6 tips a day in 1997 'Tiger King' disappearance