Shaquille O’Neal on ‘Tiger King’ Cameo: ‘Think What You Like, but I Love Tigers!’

Shaquille O'Neal

"Tiger King," the Netflix documentary on the operations of Joe Exotic's Oklahoma Zoom competing head on with another big cat sanctuary in Florida, was one of the top shows in the streaming app over the weekend. The question is why?

One reason could be the surprise camoe of Shaquille O'Neal. The documentary revealed O'Neal's frequent visits to the zoo, which is shocking considering the zoo's uncovered criminal activities.

Recently, on "The Big Podcast with Shaq," he stated that he no longer went there upon knowing about these activities. "So we go in there, and it's a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We're there and I dropped some donations for the tigers' foods and all that," O'Neal detailed. "We take pictures with tigers. We went back a couple times," he added. 

O'Neal, who loves big cats, then said: "Then we go back another time and we found out that he's involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going."

Exotic's crimes are not minor. in 2019, he was found guilty of some really heinous crimes. He was found guilty last year in a murder-for-hire plot involving its Florida rival Carole Baskin.

Baskin is a known animal activist as well, apart from owning Big Car rescue. Exotic also was found guilty of animal cruelty and serving a jail sentence of 22 years. Presently, he's seeking a presidential pardon. 

O'Neal clarified that he is not friends with this criminal and certainly does not know him. He said that he does not harm tigers and love them to bits, including the white tigers. He does give donations to these zoos, because he love them and want to help the tigers out. He does not own tigers, he added. 

He said people would have their opinions about his comings and goings at the zoo because of the footage, but his conscience is clear  with regard to Exotic. 'Don't know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on," he said.

"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness" is a true crime docudrama chronicling Exotic's outrageous lifestyle at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.  The documentary however, hardly touched on the fact that Exotic could really be a very rich man, according to Looper.

One sign of this according to the site, is that even though Exotic lived as an openly gay man, his two husbands (whom he married at the same time!) - John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, were actually straight. How did he get them to have a relationship with him then? According to USA Today, Exotic allegedly just bought their affections, with drugs and lavish gifts. 

His money is reportedly a mix of hard work and inheritance. According to The Cinemaholic, his net worth of $10 million came from his zoo work but he also received $250,000 from a rich grandfather upon passing and then another $140,000 from a lawsuit against a trucking company. The company has fatally injured and killed his brother in a highway accident. The rest of the money that made up his net worth just showed how healthy of a business the G.W Zoo was. 

While in jail right now, the New York Post reported that he has filed a jailhouse lawsuit against the US government for a total of $94 million in damages, covering the loss of his prized tigers among others.

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