‘Tiger King’: Shaquille O’Neal Defends Himself After Appearing in Netflix Series

Now that mostly everyone has seen Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, there is a lot to talk about. As internet sleuths continue to dig up people who seemingly have a connection to Joe Exotic and other figures presented in the series, one celebrity appears outright in the series’ archival footage.

With millions streaming the documentary series and seeing him with Joe Exotic, Shaquille O’Neal has taken to his podcast to set the record straight.

Shaquille O’Neal | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Netflix viewers can’t stop talking about ‘Tiger King’

Tiger King is a huge hit for Netflix and has been a big topic of conversation on social media since it debuted. The Netflix series focuses primarily on Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic. The series overall focuses on multiple big cat conservators and collectors, but out of all its threads, the major one is the feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue.

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The series intertwines lots of different plotlines, including polygamy, a criminal syndicate of exotic animal traders, an alleged domestic murder, and an alleged murder-for-hire plot. Joe Exotic is currently in prison, convicted of trying to have Baskin killed.

He had a connection to a lot of celebrities as they visited the zoo. Exotic’s GW Zoo, as well as others in the same vein, also had connections with films, television shows, and musical artists who wanted to utilize exotic animals.

Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is featured in the Netflix series as a visitor at the zoo. A clip of O’Neal at the zoo was also uploaded several years ago on the JoeExotic TV YouTube channel.

Shaquille O’Neal responds after his ‘Tiger King’ appearance

O’Neal discussed his relationship with Joe Exotic and his appearance in the Netflix series on his podcast, “The Big Podcast With Shaq.” O’Neal says that although he visited Joe Exotic’s zoo, that he not buy any animals from him.

Talking about visiting the zoo, O’Neal explained, “So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with [the] tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

He said when he learned that the animals may be mistreated that Joe may be “shady,” he didn’t return. “I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Tiger King is currently streaming on Netflix.