TV series: tigers, lions and murders, the story of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin
Even Donald Trump is dealing with the matter in these hours. The resounding success – over 34 million visits in a week – and the planetarium of the Netflix Tiger King series (who recently announced an extra episode) could even scratch a twenty-year sentence. What is it about? Let’s take a step back: this docuserie is about the owners of giant cats, in particular Joe Exotic, owner of a zoo in Oklahoma with over 200 specimens as well as politician, singer, and super-rich.
The man is currently in prison for serving a 22-year sentence since last April, when he was found guilty for ordering a murder and for mistreating and killing many animals (19 indictments). The son of the US President, Donald Trump jr. he commented the sentence days ago defining it “aggressive”, just after seeing the documentary in seven episodes, which actually divided the audience. So much so that now Trump senior is precisely considering granting grace to the protagonist.
The victim is the animalist, and Joe Exotic’s nemesis, Carole Baskin, founder of an animal shelter in Florida, which the man would have murdered. Joe, in solitary confinement for Coronarivus in a Texas prison, would have tried, among other things, to pair lions and tigers to obtain an extinct prehistoric species, the Sabertooth tiger.
With his shiny and striped shirts, platinum bangs, mallet and feline-themed tattoos, this man has in fact become a leader for a group of extremists of various kinds. Whether it’s just an eccentric slum phenomenon for trash lovers or a ruthless brute out of his mind, at this point it seems impossible to say, but Hollywood appears to have found the next gold mine capable of feeding the perverse curiosity of the spectators.
On his Instagram profile even the Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jo Jo Rabbit) is a candidate to play the star of the story (after the similar declaration by Edward Norton), while Rob Lowe has made it known that he is at work with Ryan Murphy for an adaptation of history. Meanwhile, on social media, from Stallone to Jared Leto, there is the race to impersonate this legend of kitsch.
The elements of interest are all there because mixes various genres, from reality to documentary, focusing on the sensationalistic effect that the whims of millionaires arouse when they include a series of extremely dangerous beasts in their private playground. In the end, however, it is not clear whether their owners are wilder or not. At one point, the problematic child’s extenuating reaction also started: abused at 5 years old and denied by his father after coming out, Joe also attempted suicide while he was head of a small police district.
Joe Exotic is a businessman who trades and exploits animals by showing them for the pleasure of the public, real and virtual: for many he represents the rotten side of a soulless America, which mythologizes a toxic machismo and venerates power above all.
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