Joe Exotic’s desperate plea to Louis Theroux after Tiger King (Credits: BBC)
Louis Theroux has revealed Joe Exotic reached out to him shortly after the phenomenal success of Tiger King, urging the filmmaker to tell his side of the notoriously chaotic story.
In tonight’s film Shooting Joe Exotic, Louis reflects on his time with Joe for the 2011 documentary America’s most Dangerous Pets and explores the success of Tiger King as well as its impact both a pinnacle pop culture moment and to those directly affected by the zookeeper, who is currently serving a 22 year life sentence for the plot to kill his big rival Carole Baskin, and the shooting of five tigers.
During the programme, Louis discovers a ‘veiled threat’ by Joe, warning that either he or Carole would end up dead from their feud and discusses his final showdown with the Tiger King, which didn’t make it to air over 10 years ago.
Since Tiger King’s release, Joe has become a prolific celebrity across the world – though, he has only been able to relish in the success of the Netflix series behind bars.
After his sentence, Joe remained determined to walk free, trying – and failing – to get a presidential pardon from former commander-in-chief Donald Trump while his fans continue to support him – which will be explored in Shooting Joe Exotic.
Joe’s chances of getting out of prison before his sentence is up seems slim but after Tiger King, the 58-year-old reached out to Louis, hoping the documentary-maker would collaborate on ‘the real story’.
Louis is revisiting his time with the Tiger King in Shooting Joe Exotic (Picture: BBC/Jack Rampling /Mindhouse)
‘Between 2011 when my program went out and [the release of Tiger King in 2020] to the best of my recollection we had no contact, but in 2020 after the series went out from prison [he contacted me] via someone else,’ Louis revealed to Metro.co.uk.
‘He sent a message saying he was trying to get in touch and wanted me to come and tell “the real story”, as he put it, and then on the back of that via an intermediary we exchanged a couple of emails and then, when I went back, I visited his lawyer Francisco Hernandez a couple of times and Francisco is involved with the campaign to have Joe pardoned.
‘There’s an archive of letters coming in from Joe and Joe sending letters back and so it’s sort of dealt with in that way.’
Louis and Joe’s niece Chealsi at Joe’s old zoo (Picture: BBC/Jack Rampling/Mindhouse)
While Louis hasn’t had direct contact with Joe since they met more than a decade ago, he admitted he was charmed by the flamboyant character at the time.
‘I liked him,’ explained Louis. ‘He’s one of those people who has a quality of being both flamboyant and larger than life, but also rather fragile, which is an intriguing combination because you laugh at his jokes, you enjoy his eccentricities, like the funny things he says, his tattoos, his pierced nipples, his mullet hairdo, and then at the same time you notice that he sensitive.’
Shooting Joe Exotic airs tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.
Credit: Original article published here.