‘Tiger King’ zookeeper Erik Cowie doesn’t think Joe Exotic should be released

"Good riddance"

Tiger King subject Erik Cowie has said that Joe Exotic should not be released from prison in a new special episode of the Netflix series.

The documentary series focused on former zookeeper Exotic, who was jailed in 2019 for 22 years for two counts of murder-for-hire targeted at Big Cat Rescue’s Carol Baskin, eight violations of the Lacey Act, and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Speaking in a new extra episode called The Tiger King and I, Cowie — who was head zookeeper — has slammed Exotic.


Calling him an “asshole”, Cowie was asked by host Joe McHale whether Exotic should ever be released from prison.

Tiger King zookeeper Erik Cowie
Tiger King zookeeper Erik Cowie. Credit: Netflix

“No. Not no, but fuck no,” he replied. “Twenty-two years doing federal time — that guy’s gonna die in there. So, good riddance.”

In his interview, Cowie admitted he is yet to see the series, explaining that work has gotten in the way.

Recalling working for Exotic, he said: “It’s been in the back of my head, and I think about it a lot.” He went on to allege: “a lot of times when we put cats down, they used me because just by my appearance or my voice [meant] I could get a cat up the side of the cage where we can dart it and tranquilise it so they could be put down.”


He added: “Those cats trusted me up until the end. Somehow, sometimes I swear they’re like ‘Dude you let me down’. I could see it in the face and their eyes.”

Meanwhile, Baskin has claimed that she has been sent death threats since the series aired, saying she has received numerous abusive calls from strangers.

She and her husband have also accused producers of betrayal after alleging that they were told beforehand the documentary was going to be about cruelty in the captive tiger trade rather than her and Exotic’s rivalry.