Louis Theroux finally reveals what he thinks of The Tiger King documentary

Dusty Baxter-Wright
Photo credit: BBC

From Cosmopolitan

While we could talk to the end of the earth about Netflix's The Tiger King documentary, there was one opinion we've patiently been waiting to hear: Louis Theroux's. The BBC filmmaker made an hour-long documentary of his own with Joe Exotic back in 2011, America's Most Dangerous Pets, and has since shared his thoughts on the new series.

Last month, Netflix captured our attention with their seven-part series (though apparently another episode is coming) about exotic pets and roadside zoos in America. Joe Exotic and animal rights campaigner Carole Baskin took centre stage, with the former eventually receiving a 22 year prison sentence for plotting a murder-for-hire of Carole.

Photo credit: CosmopolitanUK

In his piece for The Times, Louis reveals Joe's vendetta for Carole stems back as far as when they filmed together - likely to be 2010. "Joe’s grudge against Carole preoccupied him when we filmed," Louis commented. "He would rant about her, mentioning his belief that she’d had one of her husbands killed."

And yet, Louis found Joe a likeable character - despite not agreeing with the practice of keeping tigers in cages. "Still, as awful as the practice is, and despite the many compromises and cruelties entailed in Joe’s running of the GW zoo, it was hard to dislike the man himself.

Photo credit: BBC

"Maybe because he seemed neither to be hiding many of his misdeeds nor to take himself too seriously, not to mention that his emotional volatility — laughter, tears, kindness, paranoia, all in quick succession — inclined me to be a little protective of him.

"Joe struck me as likeable and friendly. I warmed to him, and his ridiculousness was endearing rather than annoying."

Louis went on to detail how much he liked The Tiger King documentary ("I greatly enjoyed Tiger King, my pleasure only slightly attenuated by a sense of envy and missed opportunity that I wasn’t involved in what has turned out to be a global smash"), before bringing it back to the most important point of all: the treatment of exotic animals.

Photo credit: BBC

"If I have a quibble with the series, or maybe just a cautionary note, it’s that the carnival of human folly it depicts should not blind us to the pressing, and less amusing, animal issues at its heart: playthings of a more powerful predator, kept in captivity because of human acquisitiveness, ostentation and control."

Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Read Louis Theroux's full piece in The Times here.

Cosmopolitan UK's May issue is out now and available for purchase online and via Readly. You can also SUBSCRIBE HERE or read on Apple News+. You can find our podcast 'All The Way With...' on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and the Acast app.


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