Game of Thrones was considered to be the last stand of monoculture – a show almost everyone was watching and talking about. “Tiger King” and Joe Exotic proved that wrong. Netflix has another viral hit everyone is talking about, and Shaquille O’Neal is caught up in some drama connected to the show.
If you happen to be the rare person that’s not familiar with the show, here’s what you need to know. Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) is the eccentric figurehead of GW Exotic Animal Park – a 16-acre ranch in Oklahoma where he kept more than 1,200 animals, mainly consisting of wild cats and bears. The docuseries revolves around Joe’s conflict with “animal rights people” as he calls them, for his treatment and use of big cats.
Shaq makes an appearance in one of the episodes, gives Joe a shoutout on Inside the NBA. There’s a scene in which Shaq is walking in the zoo, and he says, “I got two more tigers.” That was enough to make it seem Shaq owns tigers and supports Joe’s practices. That caused a lot of criticism towards O’Neal, so he gave some clarification on his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq.
“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. People that know me know that I’m righteous. I don’t harm tigers. I love tigers. We found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq added he does not own any tigers, but that he did donate to sanctuaries to help preserve endangered species. We won’t tell you anything more about the show, except it’s worth your time. Shaq agrees too; he binged it and said it’s “really good.”