Celebrities Who Have Visited The Zoos From 'Tiger King'

The pop-culture-loving community was introduced to Joe Exotic in 2020 thanks to Netflix's viral docu-series, Tiger King. The mind-blowing real-life tale involved big cats, drug use, polygamous gay marriages, an attack that cost an employee his arm, a missing husband that might have been fed to caged creatures, and a murder-for-hire plot that ended with a 22-year jail sentence. And that's just a quick summary of the story that was almost too sensational to believe!

There also happened to be the fact that there was not just one zoo featured, but three very different animal parks. Joe Exotic (whose real name is Joe Maldonado-Passage) was the owner of what's now known as The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, a zoo that barely managed to get by and used questionable methods to stay in business. There was also Doc Antle's much more successful Myrtle Beach Safari as well as Carole Baskin's popular Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary. Each one boasted a crew of genuine characters (both human and animal) and more than just a few iffy issues as well as captivating controversies.

While that's surely enough to make you eager to check out the docu-series if you haven't already indulged (or if that makes you want to dive back into the lion's den) what might make you even more interested is the fact that plenty of celebrities, including the following actors, musicians, and athletes, have visited the zoos from Tiger King.

Shaquille O'Neal distanced himself from Joe Exotic

Following the release of Netflix's Tiger King, Shaquille O'Neal was one of the first celebrities who was found to have a connection to the controversial animal parks, thanks to the fact that he actually appeared in the docu-series. The former NBA player opened up about his experience on The Big Podcast with Shaq on March 25, 2020, revealing that he had been to the zoo owned by Joe Exotic (or, as the athlete called him, "Exotic Joe") "a couple [of] times," and "dropped some donations for the tigers' foods" while also taking the opportunity to hang out with both Exotic and the big cats, which you can see for yourself thanks to JoeExoticTV.

While O'Neal was fully willing to own up to the fact that he likes visiting zoos, he defended his time at Exotic's shady park while also distancing himself from the scandalous figure in a follow-up podcast on April 1, 2020. "When I found out that he was doing all that stuff, I got away from it. I can't have my name involved." He also added, "Just 'cause I take a picture with you [doesn't] mean you're my friend."

Despite the controversy that was kicked up over Shaq's visits to Exotic's zoo, the sports star also revealed that if he "had the time to open up a zoo [him]self and run it, [he] would." Perhaps we'll be seeing Shaq Exotic in the future?

Miranda Lambert posed for photos with Joe Exotic

Miranda Lambert faced backlash in April 2020, when she posted photos to Instagram that showed herself with Joe Exotic. The country singer can be seen smiling while posing with the docu-series star as well as Saff Saffery – the park staff member who (spoiler alert) lost his arm during a tiger attack — as well as one of Exotic's former husbands, John Finlay. "Here's a little Monday memory for y'all," Lambert captioned her post while adding a hashtag that read "#WayTooPrettyForPrison," referring to Exotic's sentence behind bars.

Although Lambert may have thought that it was a good idea to associate herself with the shocking show, fans were not impressed. The star, who "is a well-known advocate for animals and the founder of the MuttNation Foundation," according to The Boot, took to Twitter to explain the truth behind the pics.

"Backstory: During Hurricane Harvey, the MuttNation Team went to Houston to help relocate existing shelter dogs to free up shelter space for animals separated by their owners," she wrote. After explaining that "[s]ome guy named Joe volunteered his trailer and staff," she clarified that she wasn't a guest of the park and "didn't even know he had tigers," adding that she would "OBVIOUSLY ... never condone animals being treated badly." Maybe she should have revealed these facts when she first posted the photos so that fans were aware of the entire story before the backlash sparked.

Post Malone cozied up to one of Joe Exotic's baby tigers

If you follow Post Malone on Instagram, then you're likely aware of the fact that he loves to hang out with all kinds of creatures. In the past, he's posed with a super chill kangaroo, been licked by a horse, made friends with a cheetah and a giraffe, and held a monkey who happened to be wearing gold chains. While of the animal-filled visits took place at the Lion & Safari Park in South Africa, and another involved meeting his monkey pal at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation's Nature Preserve, Malone has also spent time at Joe Exotic's zoo.

The star took to Instagram on June 15, 2018, to share a photo of himself holding a tiny tiger cub while the Tiger King Park account reposted the pic with the caption, "@postmalone was nice to have you and your crew at our zoo."

While the image certainly seems cute, Exotic was notoriously known for breeding baby tigers and taking them from their mothers in order to be used as living tourist attractions. National Geographic broke down the problematic (and heartbreaking) issue, noting that "[i]nteracting with humans is ... stressful for cubs. They're very young; they're not with their mother; and they're being passed around amid bright lights, noise, and milling people that, to their tiny selves, could be predators." Frankly, this situation isn't so cute when you realize what's really going on.

Beyoncé hung out with a chimp and some tigers

Beyoncé, who was the voice of a big cat herself in 2019's Lion King, is another famous figure who apparently likes to spend time with cute (though occasionally dangerous) animals that would naturally be found living in the wild. But when she herself wanted to go a little wild, she didn't head to Joe Exotic's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Instead, the "Run the World" singer visited Doc Antle's Myrtle Beach Safari. The park's Instagram account shared photos of Bey In August 2019 with the caption "Throwback to when @beyonce visited us!"

From the collection of photos, it seems clear that Beyoncé was enjoying the chance to hang out with a chimpanzee whose name is apparently Vali. It may or may not have been a coincidence that the singer was wearing a jacket that was reminiscent of one that was worn by Michael Jackson who famously owned his own chimp, who went by Bubbles. Beyoncé also offered Vali a snack by holding something in her teeth so that the two ended up mouth-to-mouth.

While that would have been an exciting visit in itself, Beyoncé then spent some time with both a normal tiger cub as well as a young white tiger, but when she fed the predator, she opted to do so with a bottle of milk instead of coming face-to-face with its ferocious fangs, which is totally understandable.

Bobby Flay also popped up at Myrtle Beach Safari

Bobby Flay is known for being one of the Food Network's most popular celebrity chefs, while you may recognize actress Stephanie March as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot from her days on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. What you might not have been aware of is the fact that the two stars were married from 2005 until their split in 2015. While Flay and March surely did plenty of interesting things together while they were husband and wife, they apparently spent one particular day at Myrtle Beach Safari which is owned by Doc Antle (or Dr. Bhagavan Antle, as he calls himself).

The animal park owner took to Instagram on May 8, 2019, to share a photo of the celebrity couple sitting with a young chimpanzee. "When baby Vali meet @bobbyflay at @MyrtleBeachSafari for the support of the #RareSpeciesFund," he wrote, referring to his non-profit organization that "was established to provide funding to critical on the ground international wildlife conservation programs, thereby complimenting the educational messages and field research of T.I.G.E.R.S. [which stands for The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species]," which is apparently just as controversial as everything else connected to the Tiger King docu-series.

Floyd Mayweather posed with a cheetah

Floyd Mayweather is another star who likes to interact with captivating creatures outside of his professional life. Just check out the photo of him feeding a flamingo on a beach in Aruba and try not to be jealous (betcha can't do it). "They say I live a pretty interesting life," he captioned the image, and that certainly seems to be an accurate statement. You'll likely agree when you find out that he's also spent time at Doc Antle's animal park.

Back on February 19, 2019, Antle shared a photo of himself on Instagram which showed the now-famous Netflix docu-series star chatting with the boxer while the Myrtle Beach Safari owner cradled a baby tiger in his arms. "@floydmayweather the champ and I talking tigers @myrtlebeachsafari #savethetigersavetheworld," he wrote alongside the photo.

While Mayweather didn't share that picture on his own account, he did post an image of himself at the park kneeling behind a rather nonchalant-looking cheetah. And, frankly, considering he's in the presence of a wild predator, Mayweather looks pretty darn relaxed himself. However, we're sure he was ready to take off in a flash if that cat got a little too rowdy.

It looks like The Undertaker met Hercules the liger

What the heck is a liger? Well, if you've seen Napoleon Dynamite, then you'll know that it's an animal that had one lion parent and one that was a tiger, making it a mix of both, hence the name liger. Doc Antle apparently has one of these creatures — a massive one aptly named Hercules. The winner of three Guinness World Records, the giant cat "measures up to his name, weighing in at more than 900 pounds and 11 feet tall when standing on his hind legs," according to the Myrtle Beach Safari website. This intimidating animal appears to be who The Undertaker (whose real name is Mark Calaway) met during the professional wrestler's visit to one of the animal park's seen on Netflix's Tiger King.

"Big thanks to @docantle & @myrtlebeachsafari for showing us a great time today!" the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion captioned an Instagram post from March 14, 2020. He also included a collection of photos that showed him holding a baby tiger and feeding a bottle of milk to the thirsty cat.

The star, who made his visit with his wife and fellow WWE star Michelle McCool, also hung out with plenty of monkeys and posed with Doc Antle as well as his son, the loin-cloth-wearing Kody Antle, who looked tiny compared to both the wrestler and the giant cat which looks more like an ancient saber-tooth tiger than anything that should be roaming around today.

Odell Beckham Jr.'s visit to Doc Antle's park upset PETA

NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. may be known for his skills while playing on the field, but on January 6, 2019, he shared a video of himself on Instagram that saw him playing with animals at Doc Antle's zoo. The athlete spent time petting both a tiger and cheetahs while also throwing around a football with a chimpanzee. While the clips may have seemed playful, plenty of people left comments expressing their disappointment in the sports star for putting himself in a dangerous position while also pointing out that the creatures featured would be better off in the wild. And they weren't the only ones who were upset by what they saw.

"These sensitive and much-abused animals belong with their families in nature, not pimped out as props by shameless roadside zoos," PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said in a statement on their website. While calling the video a "cheap publicity stunt," the organization added that they're "sure that Odell Beckham Jr. had no idea that the sleazy safari park where this young chimpanzee is kept has a lengthy record of violating federal law" and "urg[ed] everyone — including Beckham ... to steer clear of cruel facilities that exploit animals."

Beckham didn't respond to the call-out and still has the post on his Instagram page, so it doesn't seem as if he regrets his visit to the controversial animal park.

Logan Paul, Lil Duval, and Desiigner have one message to give

Logan Paul didn't just hang out with a cheetah, a chimpanzee, and other cute creatures at Doc Antle's zoo, he also ended up in a pool with one of the animal park's massive white tigers. Myrtle Beach Safari used Instagram to share a video of the YouTube star on February 4, 2020, writing, "@loganpaul helping us spread the message ... Save The Tiger, Save The World." In the clip, Paul holds up one of the cat's massive paws while helping to deliver the same short message alongside Doc's son, Kody Antle.

While the controversial star seemed to be thrilled by the experience, the tiger honestly looks less than unimpressed (although, we have to wonder, can a tiger look impressed?). Maybe the potentially ferocious feline was more interested in the other two celebrities who participated in the same effort that saw Paul taking a dip with an animal.

Comedian Lil Duval also got into the water with a tiger back in August 2019, even nuzzling the giant cat while delivering the same "save the tiger, save the world" message. Desiigner apparently wasn't in the mood to slip on his bathing suit when he visited Doc Antle's zoo in February 2020, although he did feed milk to two white tigers while one even took a gentle swipe at him as he delivered the expected line. Well, we hope it was gentle for the rapper's sake.

Will Kim Kardashian visit Carole Baskin's animal sanctuary?

Those who have watched Tiger King know the story of Carole Baskin and her second husband, Jack "Don" Lewis. After the man went missing, many suspected that Carole had committed murder and (eek!) fed his remains to her tigers. The animal sanctuary owner has always maintained her innocence and continues to do so following the docu-series' release as interest in the situation has renewed. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, even called for new leads while also telling TMZ that "he's convinced one person could NOT have committed the 1997 murder," adding that "someone must have helped and someone got paid."

The suspicion around the situation has gone so viral that Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to ask her millions of followers what they think about Don's disappearance. This, in turn, prompted Carole's current husband, Howard Baskin, to record a YouTube video to not only address the circumstance but to also reach out to the Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality TV star.

"I doubt if Kim will see this video, but if she were to come and spend an hour with Carole, I know she would have her answer and I know what it would be," he claimed. "And, of course, we would welcome her visiting if she wanted to." Considering Kardashian is working towards becoming a lawyer, this may be one case that she should look into.