TIGER King’s Joe Exotic has been accused of injecting his workers with ketamine tranquilisers meant for big cats weighing around 30 stone.
Rick Kirkham, 61, Joe’s former head of TV production, has claimed that when his staff got sick with colds or coughs he would reach for the drugs and “shoot them up”.
Netflix’s show Tiger King has gripped the attention of viewers the world over and made stars out of the real people featured in it.
Now, speaking on the Investigation Discovery channel documentary The Truth Behind Joe Exotic: The Rick Kirkham Story, Joe’s former head of TV production has claimed he gave sick staff ketamine hydrochloride.
He said: “I saw Joe giving animal drugs to the humans working there.
“When they’d get a cough or a cold, he’d go grab ketamine, an animal tranquilliser, and shoot them up with that. I realised everyone who worked at the zoo was some kind of misfit.”
Tiger King, which has been viewed by more than 64 million households, charts Joe Exotic’s obsession and bitter feud with animal rights activist Carole Baskin, 58.
Joe is currently serving 22 years in prison having been convicted of 17 counts of animal abuse and two counts of murder-for-hire, over a plot to kill Baskin.
Rick also claimed Joe’s Tiger King title is all fiction as he was secretly scared of the wild cats and only entered cages with sedated or aged animals.
Kirkham revealed: “He was terrified, as he was a little guy and frail.”
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Rob also revealed that Joe – real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage – pretended to be an advocate of animal rights but he witnessed gross displays of cruelty.
He revealed: “This woman came in begging him to take care of her horse, which she could not afford. Joe cried and said ‘of course’.”
Rob says: “When she drove off, he pulled the gun out and shot the horse dead in the trailer, had guys chainsaw it into pieces and fed the lions with it.
“He portrayed himself as this animal lover and caretaker of animals.
“But after he became comfortable with me, he started to do things that were wrong.”
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