If you think you’re better than Joe Exotic after watching the new season, you’re mistaken.
Netflix’s cult hit allows viewers to condemn Joe Exotic without acknowledging their own role in exploitation.
Animal abuse is wrong, and no one wants to be associated with it.
Shows like Tiger King walk a fine line between challenging a few eccentric characters and allowing viewers to remain in their comfort zones: our actions are never called into question.
Tiger King, a true-crime documentary about Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and his rivalry with animal rights activist Carole Baskin, was an instant ratings hit for Netflix in 2020, with 34.3 million people watching it in the first ten days and 64 million in the first month.
As one of the streamer’s key original commissions, it returns for a second series next week.
While Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence for a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin as well as 17 charges of animal abuse, it’s unlikely that the show’s producers will feel compelled to change the formula.
Instead, viewers will be able to judge the bizarrely framed “murder, mayhem, and madness” from the comfort of their own homes, horrified at the sight of others using animals for entertainment while we ourselves are entertained.
Joe Exotic and his exploitative methods have no place in my life as a vegan and animal liberationist.
But, unlike the show’s producers, I don’t want to single him out as the bad guy.
In the first series, viewers were shocked to see so many tigers crammed into a small cage.
Is it more shocking than the 2,325 horses that have died on UK racecourses since 2007? Is it more shocking than the 70 billion animals slaughtered for their meat each year, with around 70% of them raised in crowded factory farms?
When Exotic determined that his captive tigers were no longer useful to him – and thus no longer profitable – they would “disappear” or be sold to even more unsavoury characters.
Many racehorses are slaughtered and sold as pet food, or driven to laboratories to be experimented on when they are too old to run fast.
When viewers saw Joe, they were blown away.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy.
Tiger King 2: If you think you’re better than Joe Exotic after watching the new season, you’re wrong.
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