Tiger King: Breaking down five of Joe Exotic's wildest music videos
Tiger King subject Joe Exotic may have hoarded exotic animals in cages for personal gain, hired someone to kill his nemesis, and broken wildlife laws that increased his prison sentence — but did you know he was also capable of making a bop?
Exotic's music has caught the attention of Netflix viewers, who have been hypnotized by the music videos that are littered throughout the new seven-part docuseries, serving almost as a soundtrack. It's evident early in the production that Exotic collected wild cats to fuel his ego and his desire to be adored, and the music videos underscore how much he loved the spotlight, even if it got him in trouble.
Let's break down five of Exotic's most outrageous videos.
"Here Kitty Kitty"
Exotic was so obsessed with Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, that he wrote a song about her in 2015 titled "Here Kitty Kitty." The lyrics are about how he believes Baskin killed her husband, Don Lewis, and disposed of his body.
Exotic expresses the same sentiment in Tiger King, and Baskin has publicly bashed the series for the way it portrays the circumstances of her husband's disappearance — which she has emphatically denied having anything to with.
Meanwhile, the "Here Kitty Kitty" music video features a blonde woman dressed up like Baskin who feeds a tiger meat from a tray with a fake decapitated head on top.
"Because You Love Me"
Exotic is an openly gay man and a polygamist who has been married multiple times. He wed his first husband, Brian Rhyne, in 1986, when the latter was 19. Rhyne died of complications from HIV in 2001. Shortly after Rhyne's death, Exotic met J.C. Hartpence, whom he also reportedly married. The relationship fizzled, and Hartpence is currently in prison serving a murder sentence.
Tiger King focuses on two husbands Exotic wed in a joint ceremony in 2014, John Finlay and Travis Maldonado. Maldonado died after accidentally shooting himself in 2017.
"Because You Love Me" was shot on location at Exotic's G.W. Zoo in 2016, and features scenes of the exotic animals around the park and many of the guests who visited them throughout the years. One could infer that the lyrics are about the love Exotic had for his husbands, though they could also be about the love he had for his legion of fans.
Before Exotic's arrest and imprisonment, he married Dillon Passage in 2017, shortly after the death of Maldonado. Passage is featured in the documentary, though it is unclear whether the pair are still married.
"Pretty Woman Lover"
Though Exotic is gay, he always loved how much his female fans adored him. "Pretty Woman Lover" is a fun country track that boasts about all the women who wish they could have him and his, ahem, 9-foot whip.
The only thing funnier than seeing Exotic fawn over all the ladies is the low-budget shot of him standing on the roof of a building with storm clouds behind him as women clamor just to get a look at him.
How this video didn't earn Exotic an MTV Video Music Award is anyone's guess.
"I Saw a Tiger"
Exotic really got into his feelings with the song "I Saw a Tiger," in which he pleads with hunters to put down their guns because the tigers need a little love. He explains in the lyrics that tigers should run the jungle and roam their land — even though Exotic had hundreds of wild cats locked up in cages in his zoo.
Part of his 22-year prison sentence is for wildlife violations, including nine counts of violations of the Endangered Species Act.
"Do You Ever Wonder What Love Could Do"
With "Do You Ever Wonder What Love Could Do," Exotic hoped to raise money and awareness about what he calls the love between animals and their owners, while also speaking ill of the sanctuaries trying to save said beasts. Exotic enlisted the help of other wildlife aficionados to fill his music video with footage of them and their exotic pets in the hopes that people would support his cause.
About 26 seconds in, a man is seen in what looks like an enclosed box with his pet bear as he shoves his snout toward the camera. Later, a woman is shown crying after an officer takes her wolf away. The officer returns and takes possession of her tiger cub as the woman continues to weep. The officer and the sanctuaries are the enemies here, not those who have kept wild animals enclosed in private zoos.
At the end of Tiger King, Exotic reflects on the way he's treated his collection of animals, and there's a brief moment when he finally begins to accept that what he was doing was wrong. Producers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, who keep in touch with Exotic, think his time in jail has helped him finally understand what it feels like to be caged.
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