Shaquille O'Neal, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and more stars have interesting connections to the subjects of the documentary about Joe Exotic.

By Tyler Aquilina and Rosy Cordero
April 01, 2020 at 04:56 PM EDT
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Tiger King

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  • TV Show
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  • Netflix
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Netflix's true-crime documentary Tiger King has garnered an abundance of celebrity fans since it hit the streaming service, but there are plenty of stars who were already familiar with some of the doc's subjects and the wild animals in their private zoos.

Joe Exotic may have been the star of Tiger King, but it's exotic animal collecter Doc Antle who has the most Hollywood connections thanks to his work as an animal trainer/coordinator in films like Ace Ventura Pet Detective and Mighty Joe Young.

Here are the celebrities with connections to Tiger King:

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal has visited Tiger King star Jeff Lowe's G.W. Exotic Animal Park (formerly owned by Exotic) multiple times, donated money toward the care of the animals, and made a small appearance in the Netflix documentary. Lowe has even publicly claimed the NBA legend is his business partner. Shaq addressed his relationship with Exotic during an episode of his podcast "The Big Podcast With Shaq."

"So we go in there, and it's a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe," said O'Neal. "We're there, and I dropped some donations for the tigers' foods and all that. We take pictures with tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time, and we found out that he's involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going."

He added, "I don't harm tigers. I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don't know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on."

Britney Spears

Britney Spears fans will surely recall the pop star’s iconic performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, which featured Spears singing "I'm a Slave 4 U" with a live python draped over her shoulders. Spears made her entrance in a cage with a tiger and its wrangler: Tiger King's Antle. A photo also made the rounds on Twitter showing Spears next to a woman who looked a lot like Carole Baskin at the next year’s VMAs ceremony, but Baskin’s representatives have denied it was her. Sorry, cats and kittens.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé also shares a connection with Antle. She visited his Myrtle Beach Safari in 2014 to celebrate daughter Blue Ivy's birthday. The singer posted photos on her Tumblr after the visit, showing her interacting with a chimp and a baby tiger. The safari's official account recently shared a few more photos from Beyoncé's time with the animals.

"When Beyonce visited us! Feeding tiger cubs with the help of, Doc Antle & Vali the Chimp," they captioned the photos on social media.

Michael Jackson

After Michael Jackson's death in 2009, Exotic claims he went to Neverland Ranch to pick up the pop star's alligators and a crocodile and bring them to G.W. Exotic Animal Park, but that the animals later died during a 2015 fire. The fire was covered in Tiger King and documented at the time via a personal YouTube video from Exotic, in which he claims the reptiles "burned up and perished, boiling them alive in a towering inferno." In a statement to People, a representative for Jackson's estate would not confirm whether the animals in question once belonged to the King of Pop.

Josh Safdie

Eagle-eyed Tiger King viewers will notice the Uncut Gems co-director’s name in the credits, listed under “additional camera.” Josh Safdie wasn’t helping out on the doc while shooting Gems, though; he and his brother Benny briefly worked for producer Eric Goode several years ago, although the bulk of their work was for Goode’s conservation organization, the Turtle Conservancy, and included directing a wild mockumentary short (above), an apt companion piece to Tiger King.

"We worked for Eric and his turtle conservancy for a few years, then went down to Florida to start what became Tiger King," the Safdie brothers explained on their shared Twitter account. "Only Eric Goode could have made this show. Love him and love the show."

Fisher Stevens

Fisher Stevens may be best known as an actor in movies like Short Circuit, Hackersand most recently recurring characters on the shows Succession and The Good Fight, but he's also leaned heavily into making documentaries in recent years, including Tiger King. Stevens, who won an Oscar for producing the 2009 doc The Cove, served as executive producer of Tiger King and shared messages of support for the release all over social media.

"Very excited about the new Netflix show I Executive Produced... Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness out next Friday, March 20," he wrote on Instagram. "Unfortunately, we are going to have a lot of time on our hands to watch, but I promise it will make you forget about the Coronavirus for at least 7 hours... Watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, only on Netflix on March 20."

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Social media is littered with photos of celebrities who have interacted with the animals at the parks run by the subjects of Tiger King, including boxer Floyd Mayweather, rapper Da Brat, DJ Steve Aoki, WWE wrestler Undertaker, and YouTuber Logan Paul.

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Tiger King

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
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  • Netflix

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