Tiger King's Erik Cowie on Releasing Joe Exotic From Prison: "F--k No"

Netflix gave subscribers bit of an Easter surprise on Sunday with a brand new episode of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, "The Tiger King and I." The Joel McHale-hosted after show checks in with various people involved in the project to see what's happened in their lives since the series' release and when it comes to Erik Cowie, head zookeeper at Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, when he was asked about whether he thinks Joe Exotic -- who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for animal abuse and murder conspiracy charges -- should be released he had a pretty blunt answer: "F--k No."

"No.Not no, but f--ck no," Cowie said. "Twenty-two years doing federal time... that guy's gonna die in there. Good riddance."

Joe Exotic -- real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- was convicted in 2019 on 17 federal charges of animal abuse (nine violations of the Endangered Species Act and eight violations of the Lacey Act) as well as two counts of murder for hire for plotting to kill Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison, though he's not only pursuing a $94 million lawsuit from prison, but also seeking a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.

Cowie's strong opinion regarding Exotic remaining behind bars isn't the only notable thing he revealed in the new episode, either. He also explained that he hasn't yet watched Tiger King himself.

"I haven't seen it, [chuckling] I really haven't," Cowie said. "Ten minutes...No! No. And I need to because, uh, that way, I can have some semblance of ammunition for, you know, some of the things that come out of people's mouths. Or the me-mes or memes or whatever they're called. Uh, you know, I...I don't know where they're coming from or what...You know, so no I haven't seen it."

He did admit, though, that he's had a chance to reflect a bit on his time working with Exotic, revealing that the euthanization of some of the big cats troubles him.


"It’s been in the back of my head,” he said. "I think about it a lot – a lot of time when we put cats down, they used me because just my appearance or my voice [meant] I could get a cat up the side of the cage where we can dart it and tranquilize it so they could be put down. Those cats trusted me up until the end. Sometimes, I swear they’re like: ‘Dude you let me down’. I could see it in their face and their eyes. That sort of thing."

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is now streaming on Netflix