'Tiger King' Special: 7 Things We Learned from Netflix's New Reunion Episode

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The long awaited Tiger King reunion special debuted on Netflix on Sunday, and fans are getting some answers.

The megahit documentary has developed a huge following, but many of the series' subjects say it misrepresented the truth. So, TV personality Joel McHale got the chance to revisit the supporting cast of the series for the so-called eighth episode, "The Tiger King and I"

McHale video-chatted with each of the stars -- due to the limitations of self-isolating due to the coronavirus outbreak -- and found out where some of the show's stars are today.

Here's a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the hotly anticipated special.
 

Erik Cowie Still Works at G.W. Zoo and Still Hasn't Watched the Series

The first castmember McHale chatted with was Erik Cowie, who many believed left the G.W. Zoo and began working at a restaurant. However, according to Cowie, he's still the head zookeeper at the Oklahoma animal park. And what's more, he still hasn't watched Tiger King.

"I haven't seen it. I really haven't. And I need to so I can have some semblance of ammunition against the things that come out of people's mouths," Cowie revealed.


The G.W. Zoo Is Currently Closed Due to Do Coronavirus

Jeff and Lauren Lowe also joined the special, and said that, due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the G.W. Zoo is currently closed. However, before the zoo closed, Jeff revealed that he began to wear leather jackets (instead of his signature Affliction shirts from the series) because of the zoo's big cats.

"I started wearing the leathers due to the tigers," Jeff said. "Because we don't declaw."

The pair also said they've watched the entire Tiger King series "one painful time" when it first came out, and the have a lot of problems with the way Jeff was portrayed.


John Reinke Is Dealing With Newfound Fame Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

When the former manager of the Zoo -- and the closest thing Joe had to an ally in the documentary -- spoke with McHale, he said that the notoriety that has resulted from the series has been strange and people don't understand boundaries.

"It's a lot different. You're waiting on someone to come up to you. They don't care about the COVID, they want to shake your hand and take a picture with you. It's pretty crazy."

Reinke also said he's "refrained from contacting" Exotic while in prison, "Because he doesn't know how to shut up and everything is recorded."


Saff Has Watched Footage Of His Arm Being Ripped Off By a Tiger Many Times

The former zoo employee who, as seen in the second episode of Tiger King, got his arm ripped off by a tiger said he's watched the footage many times because Exotic used to use it as part of a safety training video for new employees.

Saff, who identifies as male, also addressed the outrage from some fans over the fact that he was misgendered by some people in the documentary, and said he wasn't that mad about it.

"It didn't bother me as much as it bothered everybody else," Saff said. "I really paid it no mind."


Josh Dial Says He Never Got Counseling After Witnessing Travis Maldonado's Death

Exotic's one-time campaign manager opened up about witnessing the accidental shooting death of Exotic's husband, Travis Maldonado, who shot himself in the head with a gun he thought was empty right in front of Dial.

"I never was able to get counseling because Joe didn't help me and neither did Jeff Lowe," Dial revealed, adding that he hopes to get help and get back on meds soon.

He also revealed that he thinks Exotic is absolutely aware of his fame, even from jail, and is reveling in it, explaining, "He's in the loop on all this and he's loving every minute of it."


Rick Kirkman Says Joe Exotic Is Terrified of Tigers

Rick Kirkman, the TV producer who had a tumultuous and ill-fated business partnership with Exotic, revealed that the former zookeeper is actually scared of the big cats he kept at the G.W. Zoo.

"I regret ever meeting Joe Exotic," Kirkman also admitted, explaining that he still has nightmares about the things he saw go down during his time working with the man.

On Saturday, Kirkman opened up in a live stream Q&A from his home in Norway, and he shared a harrowing story -- which he also opened up about during the Netflix special -- regarding Exotic's brutal actions toward an old horse.

Kirkman claimed that one time a woman brought in a horse because she couldn’t take care of it anymore. Joe said he would take care of it for her, but after she left he allegedly ended up shooting it, sawing it up and feeding it to the cats.

Kirkman alleged that Exotic thought it was funny, and he would ask people to bring in animals they couldn’t take care of, and then he would feed them to the cats. 


Everyone Agrees Joe Exotic Should Be Behind Bars

Despite all the defense funds and supporters claiming Exotic was set up, essentially everyone involved in the series thinks he definitely deserves to be in jail for his crimes, even those who don't hate him as much as the others.

"He's gonna die in there. So good riddance," Cowie said of Exotic's chances in jail. Kirkman agrees, telling McHale, "I don't think Joe Exotic will leave prison alive. I don't think he can stand it."

Meanwhile, Saff seemed to be the most sympathetic when he said, "I think justice was served, but I still don't want to see the man die in prison."

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