Louie Theroux and Joe Exotic

Louis Theroux: Joe Exotic saga summed up in a five-minute read!

A lot has changed since Louis' last visit

Louis Theroux returns to one of his previous subjects – Joe Exotic – in tonight’s new episode of his documentary series (Monday April 5).

In it, the 50-year-old filmmaker travels back to Oklahoma to revisit The Tiger King story, a subject he covered 10 years ago.

But who is Joe Exotic and what happened to him? Here’s our handy five-minute guide.

Louie Theroux and Joe Exotic
Louie with Joe in 2011 (Credit: BBC)

What happened in the original Louis Theroux film with Joe Exotic?

In Louis Theroux: Shooting Joe Exotic, Louis returns to the American state of Oklahoma to find out what happened next to Joe since their last meeting.

Back in 2011, Louis made a film called America’s Most Dangerous Pets, which introduced viewers to people who kept bears, dangerous primates and big cats as pets.

He also visited GW Exotic Animal Foundation in Oklahoma, famous for its tigers and other big cats.

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The man who ran that facility was Joe Exotic.

While Louis was there, he experienced a tornado warning and numerous rehomings of rare and very dangerous animals undertaken by Joe.

And throughout the show, Louis followed Joe around and found that he had money worries.

No wonder – on the Foundation he had around 1,400 animals, 149 of them tigers to feed and keep.

Who is Joe Exotic?
Joe was born in Kansas (Credit: BBC)

Who is Joe Exotic?

Born in Garden City, Kansas, Joe was born Joe Schreibvogel.

Joe had a tough upbringing – he was raped by an older boy when he was only five years old, and contemplated suicide when he was outed by a sibling after he became a police chief in Texas.

In 1997 his brother Garold died in a car accident.

Already involved with animals, Joe and his parents purchased a 16-acre farm in Oklahoma in which to house rare animals.

Then, in the year 2000, he acquired two tigers.

Joe Exotic
The Netflix documentary series catapulted Joe to fame (Credit: Netflix)

How did Joe Exotic become famous?

Joe live-streamed an online reality show and also travelled the country, appearing at country shows and shopping malls with tiger cubs.

Despite his appearance on the Louis Theroux documentary back in 2011, Joe only became a global celebrity thanks to the Netflix documentary series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness.

During the eight-episode series, Joe and America’s network of big cat conservationist network came under scrutiny.

It also revealed a much darker side to Joe.

Carole Baskin from Tiger King
Joe hired someone to take out Carole Baskin (Credit: Netflix)

How did Joe get into trouble and who is Carole Baskin?

Throughout his life, Joe had brushes with the law.

In 2006, he was cited multiple times by the USDA for animal rights violations.

And, in 2011, he came into contact with Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

Carole staged protests against the use of cubs in his travelling shows, and an almighty feud began.

In retaliation, Joe used the Big Cat Rescue name as part of his own marketing, which led to Carole suing Joe.

Owing $1million, Joe unwittingly hired an undercover FBI agent to murder her.

He was arrested in 2018 for hiring someone to murder Carole Baskin, as well as “eight counts of violating the Lacey Act by falsifying wildlife records, and on nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines”.

Joe Exotic is now in prison
Joe Exotic is now in prison (Credit: Netflix)

Where is Joe Exotic now?

Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas.

And, after the trial and Joe’s incarceration, Carole assumed control of the GW Exotic Animal Foundation.

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However, Joe isn’t finished just yet.

This year (2021) he hired new lawyers and is hopeful of a retrial.

Louis Theroux: Shooting Joe Exotic is on tonight (Monday April 5) at 9pm on BBC Two

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