Now that America has binged Netflix’s “Tiger King” and made up its mind about the show’s wild characters, the director of the hit gives Page Six his verdict on his subjects.
While famous fan Cardi B has said she thinks Joe Exotic — the gun-toting tiger breeder who’s currently serving 22 years for murder-for-hire and violations of the Endangered Species Act — should be freed from prison, codirector Eric Goode told us, “I think Joe was a bad guy, [but] he’s a human being and there are parts of Joe I empathize with.”
While Goode says that he doesn’t think Exotic should have gotten such a hefty sentence, he added, “Should he be sprung from jail at this time? I don’t think so.” But “sometimes our criminal justice system is about punishing people and not reforming people.”
Meanwhile, Goode told us he’d like a chance to talk things over with Exotic’s nemesis and fellow exotic-animal owner, Carole Baskin.
After the series was released, she and her husband, Howard, said the filmmakers are “devoid of integrity” and “not interested in the truth.”
“I would like to speak with them,” Goode said. “I feel that Carole, out of all these people, at least had the right message: to stop breeding and exploiting these cats for monetary gain.”
But he said that he worries Carole — who calls herself a big-cat rescuer, but also keeps lions and tigers in cages — isn’t being fair to the animals. “Sometimes you wonder whether or not one should humanely euthanize these cats instead of [letting them] suffer in cages,” he said. “I posed the question to Carole: Is it fair to keep these tigers in cages? These animals pace neurotically. I know she means well, but I wonder if it’s really the right thing to do.”
He also said, “We wondered — and there were a lot of questions that arose when we interviewed her — [about] her lack of intellectual curiosity about these animals … She has never traveled to see these animals in the wild … It felt very much like she just wanted to live with a bunch of big cats.”