If you haven’t watched Tiger King on Netflix, please run and don’t walk to check it out. It’s got everything – rednecks, intrigue, murder, weirdos, and tigers. Also, the stories coming out of this docuseries will positively sustain you during this quarantine. Trust me.
One of the biggest stories to come out of Tiger King isn’t just Carole Baskin allegedly killing her husband, Don Lewis. Nay, it’s how Joe Exotic ended up in jail on charges of animal abuse and the murder-for-hire plot of his nemesis, Carole. Joe is currently serving 22 years on 17 counts. He’s busy appealing and even has Cardi B believing that he was set up. Me, I’m not so sure. Ok, I am sure – he belongs in a cage, like the animal he is!
There are many theories floating around about how Joe ended up in jail and a lot of them put Jeff Lowe at the center of it all. If you watched the documentary, you already know that Jeff was accused by Joe of coming in and stealing his precious zoo.
Jeff’s story is that he revived a financially failing zoo and Joe wasn’t stable enough to help run it. Jeff makes it seem like he had no choice but to cut Joe out. But one thing Jeff won’t cop to is the assertion that he set Joe up, which is a stark contrast from his previous comments on the matter.
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Jeff tells Entertainment Tonight, “We did not do anything. We did not rat on Joe. We did not snitch on Joe.” He goes on, “It’s sad that people think that we set him up, but what we did was we protected ourselves. Lauren [Lowe] and I didn’t do anything wrong, so I’m not about to take the fall for Joe’s crimes.”
Jeff continues, “When the feds started investigating Joe and we were tipped off by the confidential informant… we knew that we had no choice. We had to tell them what we knew. We handed them over our cell phones, our bank accounts, whatever they asked for we gave them, cooperated fully.”
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Jeff says he and his wife Lauren started cooperating with police after they discovered Joe had been changing passwords on their bank accounts. After fleeing to Las Vegas to avoid Joe, they returned to the zoo in order to set things right. They quickly found out from a bank teller that the fed were watching their bank account. “We did not say anything, we just went over those bank statements and that’s when we found out that Joe was embezzling [and] forging my name 50 times on $50,000 worth of checks,” Jeff added.
The two then confronted Joe, which Lauren got on the video that was featured in the documentary. “We were already planning to confront Joe that day… As soon as I opened the door, Joe came busting in and he actually pushed me up against the wall with the door and it just went off from there,” Lauren explained. “So I just automatically started recording. I said, ‘We need to cover our ass.'”
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Jeff adds, “That is I think effectively what saved us from the scrutiny of the federal investigators. Because, initially, I would have been a suspect in cub trafficking because my name was on the park and Joe was breeding all these cats here and selling them. We were in Las Vegas. We knew he was selling tiger cubs, everybody in the industry knew… but I couldn’t say anything. He was breeding his own tigers. They weren’t mine. It was none of my business.”
Jeff feels like he is the one who tried to swoop in and save Joe’s zoo to avoid Carole being involved. “You see all these beautiful animals, knowing that someone like Carole Baskin was going to possibly get all of them,” Jeff claims. “I didn’t want that to happen… We did not want her getting a hold of these tigers because she would have either made money or figured out a way to put them down.” And Joe was obviously willing to do whatever to take Carole down, including keeping a supposed file cabinet full of evidence against her.
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Despite all the accusations, Jeff claims that he and Lauren “never set [out] to hurt Joe.” He admits, “We came here to actually save Joe… We came back and we bailed him out. We got the park back on its feet.”
Jeff believes through all this that he and Lauren are the actual victims here. Claiming that they were exploited by the series, he says, “It’s aggravating because we lived it. We know where the mistakes were. You wanna get up and hit the TV,” he said. “… They misled all of us… They just twisted around on us.” Jeff insisted, “They tried to make us look like we were complicit.”
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It’s worth noting that Jeff previously commented on the series saying, “Overall, we think they did a good job.” I wonder what changed his mind? Sounds like Jeff is willing to go whichever way the wind blows.
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TELL US – DO YOU THINK JEFF SET UP JOE? DO YOU THINK JEFF AND LAUREN ARE THE REAL VICTIMS?
[Photo Credit: Netflix]