Tiger King: Every Character On Netflix's Original Series, Ranked
The Tiger King
Netflix's latest docuseries The Tiger King has taken the world by storm. The seven-episode show follows Joe Exotic, an exotic pets park owner; Carole Baskin, an animal activist; Doc Antle, another exotic pets park owner; and everyone that surrounds them. It is an unbelievable story that starts with petting tigers and ends with assassination attempts.
What makes this show so mind-blowing is the cast of characters. Aside from the three previously mentioned folks, there is a plethora of other people interviewed for the show that are incredibly interesting. However, many of these people aren't really good, law-abiding citizens, or they had a rough past that led to some tragic moments. All that being said, sometimes you feel guilty about liking some of the characters on this show.
Considering all of that, we've decided to rank every person interviewed on Tiger King, and there were a lot of people on this show. So here are the 45 people from Tiger King, ranked from least favorite to favorite.
Note: We are basing our opinions on everyone involved in the show on how they are presented in the Tiger King. While supplemental sources are also provided--giving an update to where some of them now--it's been made clear by some parties that they don't feel they were represented on the Netflix docuseries in an accurate light.
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45. Doc Antle
Founder of Myrtle Beach Safari
Antle is an interesting character, to say the least. The Netflix documentary sets him up as the leader of a group that almost borders on sex cult. Tiger King does not paint him in a good light.
Additionally, Antle recently tweeted about the doc and said, "We are very disappointed that our facility was mentioned in the new Netflix series. We can only assume it is because Doc Antle has been such a high profile wildlife personality for so many…" The confusing tweet was originally connected to an Intagram account. The post no longer exists.
There's nothing redeeming about this guy.
44. Tim Stark
Founder of Wildlife in Need
There is something going on with Tim Stark. He's a dark character, and completely unlikable, as he's presented in Tiger King. He runs an Indiana exotic pet park, which recently lost its license from the USDA after claims of animal abuse. Stark and Lowe were working together on the new GW Zoo but have parted ways since. He's not a likeable guy.
43. Kody Antle
Doc Antle's son
We don't know much about Kody, but it's a "guilty by association" situation for him. He's Doc's son, so he's just not likable.
42. Jeff Lowe
Worked with the feds to bring down Joe Exotic, and took over the GW Zoo. Jeff Lowe is a guy who is willing to take advantage of others in order to get ahead, and he does not seem trustworthy. Sure, he helped stop the assassination of Carole Baskin by having Allen Glover turn over evidence to the feds, but Lowe did so in order to get Joe out of his hair while he took over GW Zoo.
41. Anne McQueen
Don Lewis' executive assistant
McQueen has an interesting shirt, and she's wrapped up in Lewis' story. We don't learn a lot about her to form a real opinion.
40. Brittany Peet
An employee at PETA who had been investigating Joe Exotic and his treatment of animals.
39. Chealsi Putman
Joe Exotic's niece
That's an interesting way to spell that name, isn't it? Again, this is a character we don't know a whole lot about.
38. Debra Sandlin
Former volunteer at Big Cat Rescue
It's apparent that she likes cats and all things cats.
37. Jeff Johnson
Former reptile dealer
Jeff has a pretty cool tractor. He seems like a guy that would appear on History's American Pickers.
36. Joseph Fritz
Don Lewis' attorney
Joseph has to deal with a lot, as his client has disappeared and Lewis' estate was pretty large.
35. Kenny Farr
Don Lewis' handyman
Out of the vast majority of people involved with Lewis, Carole Baskin actually likes Kenny Farr. She said that she "loved him like a son" in a Big Cat Rescue blog post.
34. Mark McCarthy
Former employ of Mario Tabraue
McCarthy detailed some of Tabraue's exploits while he worked for him. He's a middle-of-the-road guy, and we have no real opinion of him.
33. Marsha David
GW Zoo employee
David appears briefly. She also has a shamrock tattoo with a confederate flag in it. That's what we know about her.
32. Marc Thompson
Joe Exotic's security guard
When animal rights activists are on your heels, you're going to need some security. And Joe Exotic hired Marc Thompson, who is pretty forgettable.
31. Susan Bass
Big Cat Rescue PR
Bass hangs out in the Big Cat Rescue gift shop during her time being interviewed.
30. Moksha Bybee
Doc Antle's partner
We learn a little about Moksha through Barbara Fisher, and she is briefly interviewed. Based on how Antle is presented, you do feel bad that she's caught up in all of this.
29. Jamie Murdock
Carole Baskin's daughter, works at Big Cat Rescue.
Jamie seems alright, but she does work with her mother.
28. Sylvia Corkill
News 9 reporter
Corkill has all the facts, and the News 9 set looks nice.
27. Vernon Yates
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation
Yates cares for animals and tries his best at it. He seems like a good guy.
26. Wendell Williams
Don Lewis' business associate
Wendell has some nice frames for his portraits.
25. Amanda Green
Federal prosecutor against Joe Exotic
Green did her job at taking down someone who broke the law, and she has a nice blazer.
24. Bruce David
GW Zoo contractor.
He has a snake on his arm and a parrot on his shoulder during the interview. What's not to love?
23. Howard Baskin
Carole Baskin's husband
While he comes off as a lackey for Carole, there's something about Howard that's likable. It's probably his wedding photos with Carole. They are wild, as he's on a leash, in a caveman costume. However, he came off really smug in some of the interviews, which made him a bit less likable.
22. Travis Maldonado
Joe Exotic's husband
Was fed drugs by Exotic during his time at GW Zoo as Exotic's husband--even though it was reported he wasn't gay. Maldonado liked to pull weapons on people, and at one time, fired a weapon on himself that he thought was empty. It wasn't, and it ultimately killed him.
Maldonado comes off as a rural person with a charming personality, even if jokingly pulling guns on the people around you is doesn't make you the nicest person. However, it's apparent early on that something tragic happens to him because he's never interviewed. Obviously, it's one of the saddest story on the series.
21. Carole Baskin
Founder of Big Cat Rescue
Hello all you cool cats and kittens, Baskin wants privatized ownership of exotic animals like the GW Zoo and Myrtle Beach Safari made illegal. She runs Big Cat Rescue--a large cat sanctuary that is seemingly very similar to what she opposes--run entirely by volunteers working for free in a color-tiered system which takes years to move up in.
She's also been accused by her opponents of feeding her missing husband, Don Lewis, to her cats. Lewis' body has never been found. Baskin also sued Joe Exotic's parents in order to get money owed to her by the Tiger King himself.
Baskin may seemingly have her heart in the right place at first, but Tiger King presents a real dark underbelly for her story, and by the end, you will not like her.
20. Cheryl Maldonado
Travis Maldanado's mother
Cheryl has a tough go as her story unfolded on Tiger King. Her son accidentally killed himself, she was duped into a photo-op with Joe Exotic's new husband to make everything seem "okay," and during her interviews, you can feel she is crushed. You only want the best for her, and for her to get back on her feet. She's one of the more tragic tales from the show.
19. Sheriff Rhodes
County sheriff that presides over GW Zoo
Rhodes is a smalltown sheriff that wants the best for his community but fears the day a tiger escapes and the public has to deal with it. He's just trying to do his job, and you feel so bad for him, as the sheriff is stuck in the middle of this story, which is just bonkers.
18. Lauren Lowe
Jeff Lowe's wife
Her husband may not come off very well on Tiger King, but Lauren does in the couple of times she shows up on the show. One of the last times you see her is before she's about to give birth, and both she and Jeff seem excited and very happy.
17. Gladys Lewis Cross
Don Lewis' ex-wife
We truly hope she gets some answers about what happened to her ex-husband, who disappeared years ago after marrying Carole Baskin.
16. Lynda Sanchez and Gale Rathbone
Don Lewis' daughters
Much like their mother, Gale and Lynda just want answers about their father's disappearance. You can't help but feel bad for them. They're all wrapped up in a story they had nothing to do with.
15. Dillon Passage
Joe Exotic's current husband
Dillon seems like a nice enough guy, and even though his husband is currently in jail, Dillon is still married to him and talking to him. This might be the first gay man Exotic married as well.
14. John Finlay
Joe Exotic's ex-husband
Rarely seen wearing a shirt, Finlay was married to Exotic for years, and use methamphetamines during that time.
There is an element of sadness throughout the series for Finlay. You like the person who is being interviewed because... well, he's a shirtless dude with tons of tattoos, and you constantly wonder, "Did a producer ask him to put a shirt on ever?" He was in a rough spot during the filming of this docuseries.
Luckily, Finlay is having better times now. He has new teeth, a new job as a welder, and he seems happy. So there's a huge upside to this story.
13. Rick Kirkham
Joe Exotic TV producer
Kirkham is a very weird dude. Early on, you learn he set himself on fire for a new story, before working for Exotic. He spent time upping the production quality of Joe's show, and filming the Tiger King making various threats to Carole Baskin. All of Kirkman's footage was lost in the fire at GW Zoo. After leaving GW Zoo, Kirkman's house burned down, and his dog died.
There's something oddly likable about this bizarre man, and he has a pretty tragic story after leaving GW Zoo. He's like the basic cable version of Frank Miller.
12. Maria Tabraue
Mario Tabraue's wife
She's married to a man that you'll feel exceptionally guilty for liking; however, Maria seems great, and the monkey she has with her has a diaper on which is the cutest thing ever.
11. Joshua Dial
Joe Exotic's campaign manager
One of the few seemingly kind-hearted people in Exotic's stable that wasn't abusing drugs, Dial was unfortunate to be the witness to Travis Maldanado accidentally shooting himself.
And that's the only moment on the series where you feel bad for him. He witnessed something horrifying. Additionally, he was involved with Exotic's wild political campaigns, which were surely stressful--but fun for us to watch.
10. Dennis Hill
Former exotic animal owner/head hair enthusiast.
Hill had video of Baskin during her younger years teaching people how to raise exotic cats from home, which includes taking the kittens from their mothers. Hill appears briefly, but he's totally awesome. Look at that screenshot.
9. Erik Cowie
Head keeper at GW Zoo
While his look may be a bit intimidating, Cowie generally cared about the animals at GW Zoo. He took care of them and wanted them to be safe, above anything else. And that's why he testified against Exotic--who had been killing mature tigers to make room for newborns. He no longer works at the GW Zoo, but he has a big heart.
8. JP Wilson
When Wilson was younger, he taught Joe Exotic some magic tricks. Also, it's apparent he loves his cat.
He only appears briefly, but Wilson is a delight, holding his cat during the interviews.
Verdict: Okay to Like
7. Barbara Fisher
Fisher was involved with Myrtle Beach Safari, working under Doc for years and becoming one of his many girlfriends. She no longer works for Doc and was very vocal about Doc's tweet--seen earlier. She RT'd the tweet saying, "Translation: I'm sad someone saw through my bulls***, so I'm going to pretend it was because I was so very famous BEFORE the Netflix show. #TigerKing"
Barbara is awesome, and within the Tiger King doc, she's the one person who has a truly happy ending: escaping Doc Antle. Her story will make you feel bad for her, but there is a real light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope she keeps calling out Doc on Twitter.
6. Allen Glover
GW Zoo Handyman
Glover was hired by Joe Exotic to murder Carol Baskin. While he never attempted to commit the act, he still took the job. He comes off a bit as a bumbling idiot, but a lovable one at that. Remember when he was interviewed while taking a bath? What was up with that?
5. John Reinke
Manager of GW Zoo
Many people who took care of the animals at GW Zoo seemed to be good people with tragic backstories. Working there gave them purpose, so when it all fell apart after Lowe took over, many of them moved on. This happened with Reinke, and he moved and became a welder.
4. James Garretson
Businessman/Jet ski enthusiast
Garretson is all about self-preservation, no matter who is hurts in the end. He's a person who could very easily be in prison for something awful. He's also the weird comic relief throughout the show, so you end up liking how silly he is. But really, the shining moment for Garretson is the quick scene of him on a jet ski. Don't worry, we're not leaving that part out.
4.5. James Garretson on a Jet Ski
Never forget this weird, weird moment.
3. Mario Tabraue
President and founder of Zoological Wildlife Foundation
Tabraue ran a drug ring during the '80s and was sentenced to 100 years. However, he was released after serving 12 years after he was an informant. An ATF agent was murdered by one of his henchmen, but he was not charged with being connected to that.
He was a criminal and done some heinous things, but Mario is extremely likable in Tiger King. He seems to have a love for animals--even though he was accused of filling snakes with cocaine. And out of all the park owners on the show, you'll probably feel the most conflicted about liking him.
2. Kelci "Saff" Saffery
Animal keeper at GW Zoo
The animal keeper--who officially goes by Saff since transitioning--lost his arm while dealing with a tiger at the zoo, and then went back to work five days later like a champion. Saff truly cares about the animals and the park, and he wasn't involved in the shady aspects surrounding Joe Exotic and company.
1. Joe Exotic
Founder of GW Zoo, gun enthusiast, country music singer
Joe spent a lot of time on Joe Exotic TV threatening Carole Baskin. He also hired Allen Glover to kill her. Exotic fed drugs to his husbands, and his music is actually written by Clinton Johnson Band and Exotic softly sang over the tracks.
Exotic is extremely charismatic, funny--both intentionally and unintentionally--and a wild, wild person. So while we're all posting gifs of him and giggling at his music videos, it's easy to forget the constant threats of violence from Joe Exotic TV to Carole Baskin, including hiring Allen Glover to murder her.