Tiger King’s directors admit that “Joe is racist” in a new interview. Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the many facets of the Internet’s favorite binge subject right now. It turns out things are coming up about the main character using the “N” word. The idea of Joe Exotic has taken hold of the popular consciousness right now, but many have pointed out the negative elements of the main character. There’s the animal abuse at the core of the story, some allusions to murder, and now, revelations of racism from the Internet’s favorite meme right now. For their parts, Chaikin and Goode are not backing away from the terrible parts of the fascinating story.
When THR asked about some evidence of Exotic using the “N” word, Chaiklin responded, “Yes. Joe is a racist, I would say categorically. He said things when we were filming that were very unsettling.” The immediate question after such a revelation lies in why the filmmakers chose to leave such a detail on the cutting room floor. But, they were game to address that part of the story as well.
Chaiklin began, “They didn’t have a context in the story, but he has a lot to learn. I think most of it was ignorance and not having a lot of exposure and I think he even evolved over the course of the time that we filmed.” Her partner would reiterate the need for people to understand that this man did a lot of terrible things and that cannot take a backseat to an entertaining story.
“I would say it’s very important for people to know this that there seems to be an overwhelming amount of empathy for [Joe's current husband] Dillon. We had empathy for Joe, but Joe did a lot of horrible things,” Goode added. “Joe committed some really serious crimes and Joe was not only cruel and inhumane to his animals, he was cruel to the people around him. I think it’s very important for people to understand that Joe is an actor and he tells people what they want to hear. As much as we have some empathy for Joe and found Joe to be such an incredible character — this mullet-wearing country singer in Oklahoma — he did a lot of horrible things.”
It seems like the entire moment around this program keeps getting weirder and weirder. PETA has taken aim at NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal over his inclusion in a part of the doc. There was also O.J. Simpson chiming in about the possibility that Carole Baskin killed her husband. Things keep getting more and more wild around this story and as we all sit around in quarantine.
Have you seen Tiger King? Did you enjoy the wild ride? Let us know in the comments!