Tiger King’s Doc Antle also claims he was misled about the nature of the show

Happy international cheetah day from me and King Tut #atmyrtlebeachsafari #cheetah #savethecheetahsavetheworld

One of the most interesting side characters apart from Tiger King’s main storyline was Doc Antle, who owned a more classy looking exotic animal park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Doc went by the title Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle and often rode an elephant. His workers were primarily scantily clad, busty women, many of whom were said to be part of hisharem. Filmmakers interviewed a woman who worked there when she was a teenager. She heavily implied that Doc euthanized big cats when they were no longer profitable, said that living conditions for staff were disgusting and hinted that Doc seduced his young employees. It was described as cult-like and footage show on Tiger King supported this, as did other people interviewed about Doc. One of my favorite lines came from the weird guy with the small capuchin monkey, Tim Stark, (thanks Ashley and Katy on Twitter) who said he wanted to know how Doc “trains them women.” That was hilarious to me.

Like Carole Baskin, Doc has said that filmmakers misled him about the nature of the show, saying they were focusing on his conservation efforts. Doc did an interview saying he doesn’t have a harem, that there are a lot more men who work at his park than were shown and that he doesn’t euthanize his animals. Thanks to People for transcribing this. I can’t find the source video but People has clips on their site.

“Remember, this is not a documentary. This is a salacious, outrageous ride through a television show produced to create drama, to just tie you in to some crazy train wreck of a story between the feud of Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic, and the meltdown that ensued between two people who both are far too close to murder themselves, and I think a little bit of madness thrown in on their parts,” Antle said in a video interview with TMX.news.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness — from co-directors and writers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin — examines the life and crimes of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a former country musician, Oklahoma zookeeper, gun enthusiast and big-cat keeper known as Joe Exotic. Maldonado-Passage owned an exotic animal park and boasted of having the largest number of big cats in America. He was found guilty in 2019 for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Carole Baskin, who he considered his rival.

The series also gave audiences a behind-the-scenes look at Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari. Reflecting on the docuseries, Antle alleged to TMX.news that he “worked with the director for two and a half years, saw him probably five or six times for several days in a row each time. That endless portrayal of a program that he was doing with us was purely about a wildlife conservation show about our work that we’re doing in Sumatra, Africa to save endangered species there. It was all about how the tigers that we have here have raised so much money that we’ve been able to go to Sumatra and create a new ranger station there … and that was the documentary that I worked on, and all of that stuff somehow found its way to the cutting room floor.”

Antle alleged that he didn’t know they were shooting Tiger King when he was being filmed: “It was not mentioned in any capacity that this show that I was working on would portray anything about Carole or Joe. Questions about Carole and Joe were a dozen or so thrown into hundreds of others, and I repeatedly told them I have no desire to be involved in some show where you’ve got the feud of Carole and Joe going on, it’s not my thing, leave me out of it. Over and over, that was the intention, and that’s what we worked towards.”

Antle also denied allegations that he and other big cat zookeepers euthanize their animals, calling those claims “outrageous TV.”

“They pushed several notions, the worst of which is that somehow tiger cubs exist in copious amounts and that these tiger cubs have a value only as children, and that that is a super short time, and then they’re just killed off afterwards,” he said. “Nothing more ridiculous has ever been said. No one does that.”

And when it came to his personal portrayal as polygamist with a cult of female employee followers, Antle said the docuseries didn’t paint the whole picture of his animal park.

“I’m a single guy. My wife died 25 years ago, the mother of my son and daughter, my youngest ones, and I’ve never been married since. I have girlfriends, I’m a single guy. This massive judgmentalness [sic] of somehow I’m not supposed to have girlfriends or something is just off my rocker here with how they got to this point,” he said. “They are just looking for something to be outrageous. The girls that they are showing throughout the facility … these are the girls that are the wives of staff who live here, these are my grandchildren, these are my grandchildren’s fiancés, this are my son’s fiancée, this is a variety of ladies who devote their time here that are part of a team. The team is half men. Did you see any men in the series? They cut them all out to make it appear that this is a girl place.”

[From People]

I watched the interview on People’s site and Doc does seem sane and like he’s mostly telling the truth, but he came across that way on camera too. He seemed the most “normal,” until filmmakers got one of his old employees on the record. I bet he does get rid of tigers when they’re no longer profitable and that he also tries to pull in the women who work for him. Doc also said that filmmakers showed John Finlay, Joe’s first husband, with teeth that were filed down to accommodate his prosthetic teeth and that’s not how his teeth regularly look. They asked him to take his shirt off so he looked even more like a hick. If you look at John’s Facebook page he has great smile and looks more clean cut. Doc said they did they same for Saff, the man with a missing arm (he goes by he and him pronouns), by asking him to remove his prosthetic arm that he normally wears and sitting him next to a dumpster for the interviews. I wondered about the settings! They were SO trashy! Anyway I half believe Doc in that I’m sure the show was sensationalized, but I also think he’s up to more than he’ll ever admit. The truth is somewhere in between, as it usually is.

I just had my 60th birthday. I wanted to come hang out with one of my favorite big cats, Apollo here is only five years old and already weighs over 900 pounds and stands 11.5 feet tall on his hind legs. When I asked my partner Moksha what her favorite thing she learned about ligers over the last 20 years of hanging out she said “he’s bilingual as he speaks both lion and tiger” She doesn’t look 40 does she. The world largest cat. Over 900 lbs and 11.5 ft tall.

Best of 2019 IG of our wonderful animal ambassadors #atmyrtlebeachsafari #tiger #chimp #blackpanther

A little Golden Tabby Swim Time, with my granddaughter @aaliyah_ofthejungle #savethetigersavetheworld

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