Everything You Need To Know About The Netflix Doco 'Tiger King'

It's about to make self-isolation a wild ride.

For many of us, self-isolation, quarantine and government lockdowns mean working from home and staying indoors – but it also means prime binge-watching. With so many streaming platforms at our fingertips, we’re overwhelmed with choice – but if there’s one thing you have to watch in isolation, it’s Netflix’s new documentary series, Tiger King. Hear about it below:

Without giving too much away, Tiger King follows Joe Maldonado-Passage AKA Joe Exotic, an eccentric big cat breeder and zoo owner based in Oklahoma. Joe’s personal story is batsh*t crazy on it’s own, but it’s the broader story of Tiger King that has everyone’s tongues wagging. 

The series takes viewers down a bizarre rabbit-hole of competing big cat breeders, the fight for animal rights, murder-for-hire convictions, polyamorous relationships, accidental suicide, tiger attacks and more – leaving you bewildered and with your jaw firmly on the floor.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tiger King, the Netflix series on everyone’s lips:

Who is Joe Exotic?

Joe Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel) is the former operator of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. 

After Exotic’s brother Garold Wayne died in a car crash in 1997, he used money from the settlement to buy a ranch in Oklahoma and turned it into a zoo dedicated to his late brother. Over the years, Exotic became a big name in the big cat world, particularly for his ‘online reality TV show’ and live tour incorporating both wild animals and magic. 

Joe Exotic is an openly gay man, who at one time had two husbands: John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, the latter of which was killed in 2017 in an accidental suicide.

In 2006, Exotic’s animal park was accused of violating the Animal Welfare Act standards. In 2011, Carole Baskin – the owner and operator of competing zoo Big Cat Rescue – protested Exotic’s use of cubs in shows. Exotic retaliated by stealing trademarks of Big Cat Rescue, and so began an almost decade-long feud between Exotic and Baskin that ended in a criminal charge for animal abuse and murder-for-hire.

Who Is Carole Baskin? 

Carole Baskin is the founder and chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue, a not-for-profit animal rescue in Florida. 

While Baskin is portrayed as somewhat of an animal rights hero in the early episodes of Tiger King, her dark past becomes clear later on. She opened Big Cat Rescue in the early ‘90s with her then-husband Don Lewis, a much older millionaire who mysteriously disappeared in 1997. Both Lewis’ daughters from his former marriage, and Joe Exotic have accused Baskin of killing Lewis and feeding him to the tigers. Baskin denies the claims and maintains that Lewis left her without any explanation.

Throughout Tiger King, viewers witness the drama surrounding Baskin and Exotic’s longtime feud. Her biggest beef with Exotic stems from the fact he breeds big cats, whereas her mission is to give them a place to be safe and live out the rest of their lives. As mentioned previously, the animosity between Baskin and Exotic escalates to criminal levels as the series carries on. 

What Else Does Tiger King Cover?

As well as the murder, mayhem and madness between Baskin and Exotic, Tiger King uncovers the seedy underbelly of the big cat business in the United States, and the characters at the forefront of it.

During the series, we meet Exotic’s employees – many of whom are employed fresh out of jail and on an extremely low wage, Exotic’s quirky reality TV producer Rick Kirkham and other big cat breeders, including Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle and his several wives, and Mario Tabraue a convicted felon and former drug kingpin.

You can’t make this stuff up. Tiger King is available to watch now on Netflix – believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this wild rollercoaster of emotion.

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Can You Even Remember The Last Josh Hartnett Film?

An investigation into our fave teen heartthrob.

Remember in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s when Josh Hartnett was featured on the cover of every teen magazine and bedroom wall? Well, it’s been over a decade since then, and quite frankly – I couldn’t tell you the last film I saw Josh Hartnett in, and I’m not alone.

A quick Twitter search of the actor presents many variations of one core question: what happened to Josh Hartnett? 

While some may have last seen Hartnett in the 2014-2016 horror series Penny Dreadful, my most recent memory of the now 41-year-old spans all the way back to 2002, when he played the cute, sex-obsessed Matt in 40 Days and 40 Nights. 

Well, it turns out Josh Hartnett has actually appeared in a bunch of stuff in the last 18 years. In 2004, he was the lead role in the drama mystery flick Wicker Park, in 2006, he starred alongside ex-girlfriend Scarlett Johansson in The Black Dahlia, and he also had starring roles in films including Pearl Harbour, Black Hawk Down and crime thriller The Lucky Number Slevin. 

So, how come we’re not gushing over Hartnett the way we used to? Perhaps it’s because the actor maintains a relatively low profile these days, and doesn’t lean into the tabloid success and red carpet antics that so many celebrities do these days. There’s also the fact he took some time out of the spotlight to get married to fellow actress Tamsin Egerton in 2012, and raise their two kids in the UK.

In a 2004 interview with the Evening Chronicle, Hartnett said of being famous, “I know what it’s like to be in that whole world. I was up there for a couple of years, and it was uncomfortable. I think trying to stay at the top is a shortcut to unhappiness.” 

Speaking of major throwbacks, hear about Jessica Simpson’s latest comeback below:

Speaking about his break from Hollywood, Hartnett said, “I spent a bit of time really thinking about whether this was the right thing for me.”

Fast-forward to 2020 and Josh Hartnett is still singing a similar tune. In a recent interview with Variety, he said, “All those magazine covers and paparazzi and all that sort of stuff was not at all how I lived my life, and not at all who I thought myself to be. So I feel very much myself now, and I took steps to make my life not as crazy after that movie came out and was successful at it and have remained sort of outside of the fray.”

“When I was younger, it was important to me to kind of figure out who I was, what I wanted for my life, how I wanted to create my life without so much scrutiny. I did that, and now I feel comfortable being who I am in the spotlight if I need to be.

The good news is Hartnett is set to make a return to our screens in 2020 in the TV series Paradise Lost and the thriller flick Target Number One. We’ve missed you, Josh!

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

We Should All Be More Concerned About The Homeless Population

How do you self-isolate without a home?

For most of us, self-isolating, staying indoors and avoiding large gatherings is relatively easy amidst the coronavirus crisis – but what about the people who don’t have a place to call home?

Today is Youth Homelessness Matters Day, which aims to raise awareness and public discussion about youth homelessness so that we can develop sustainable and innovative solutions for not only supporting the needs of homeless young people, but supporting their dreams.

Hear about how Melbourne City Mission is working to combat the risk of COVID-19 amongst young homeless people below:

For those who are homeless or sleeping rough, avoiding the spread of COVID-19 is near impossible. With weakened immune systems, poor hygiene, having to live in close proximity with others, less access to medical services and communication, and an inability to self-isolate or quarantine – homeless people are extremely vulnerable and at risk of testing positive for the virus. 

According to the 2016 ABS Census of Housing and Population, there have been over 116,000 homeless people living in Australia on a single night, and the rate of homelessness in our country has risen by 13.7% in five years. But that’s just in Australia. 

All over the world there are people living without a roof over their heads, and according to the experts, “it’s inevitable” that coronavirus will hit the homeless community on a global scale. This follows reports that soup kitchens in the UK have closed and a homeless shelter in Hobart was forced to shut its doors due to fears of coronavirus. 

There was also a shocking report that French authorities had been fining homeless people amid the country’s lockdown.

The good news is, there are worldwide efforts being made to try and lessen the impact the pandemic is having on those without a home. In the UK, hotels and offices are being converted into safe spaces to protect rough sleepers from coronavirus, and in some parts of the States, organisations have set up hot water hand-washing stations, restructured the bedding layout of shelters, and are working to provide on-the-ground education about the virus’s spread and prevention.

Here in Australia, homeless help provider Strike it Out has been handing out hygiene packs to members of the homeless community to try and limit the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. 

Tasmania’s State Government has also announced it will be providing $1M in aid to Communities Tasmania so they can support vulnerable people with food hampers, medical supplies and counselling. 

ABC News reports that in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 amongst the homeless community, things like hygiene stations need to be easily accessible, shelters need to be restructured and things like communication plans and designated quarantine sites need to be set up. 

We can only hope the rest of Australia, and the world, will continue to help protect the physical and mental health of those who are already struggling on the streets from this deadly virus.

If you want to help put homelessness to bed, head to Melbourne City Mission’s official website and donate.

Always be in the loop with our snackable podcast breaking the biggest story of the day. Subscribe to It’s Been A Big Day For… on your favourite podcast app.

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