Joe has high aspirations of becoming a reality TV star. But his plan are about to go up in flames.
A listener note: this episode discusses suicide. The episode also includes descriptions of mistreatment of animals.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, here are some additional resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
At the G20 use you, there was a row of cages called Tiger Alley on October, fifth, two thousand
thirteen as a worker names south went down the row opening the gates between the cages. It was the first cold
the year in South, was wearing a navy. Blue puffy jacket at each cage sap would stop and use a long hook to lock the gate behind the tiger, but when he got to the cage of a male tiger, Name Roger, he did something different with
thinking he reached in with his hand, and he read south tried, wrenches hands free, but the tiger wouldn't like girl. He bit down so hard. She broke SAS middle finger. The employees around south, backed away
that seemed to make the tiger even more and agitated that what you did. I sat there and watch ensure it from there
how the jacket outward the jacket in July. On at that point,
what sort of durable South stood there and shock watching the tiger tore upon his arm? For three minutes, I gotta go gauge less and I got it
my body and set out on the ground, just tell them all their cargo.
Dish, gone awful scolding and go on radio, and finally, we figure that risk.
Higher had a holder, some money, Joe, was standing in his kitchen eating lunch when the call came in he dropped his plate race,
I was back door through the gates, sprinted down Tiger alley and I get over there, and that is why, in the next parliamentary term, in a mud, turtle bleeding profusely- and my God
Never in my shame, anything like that serves arm was completely
single life ever get me was twofold: my phone coming elbow tree, rich pure, why they will come out of a ball and Joe fumbled get is built out of the loop of his white genes and knelt down next to sack
He frantically wrapped the belt around saves on to stop the bleeding had ever gonna break it up
I got your flock role than it was just barely hang it on with a sigh
lay there on the ground in total silence. All I could think about keeping com.
We didn't go into shock, and so none of the visitors in the park would know what had happened,
Bobby. At the data view, a gardener pointed it was attacked by a Geiger and it hurt bad kill. Basque
had always maintain. The Josie was badly run and dangerous, and now this had happened
those crew lifted south onto a stretcher.
Did him into an ambulance and russian
The nearest hospital.
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From wondering I'm Robert More- and this is over my dead body.
Six feet at this season is called Joe Exotic, and this is episode for Joe Exotic TV last October. I was working cases a year
after the Tiger attack sap stared into the lens video camera
he did it
My hand on most of the damage is actually caused by his claws. He sat on the fence in front of the tiger cages wearing a ten were coding and faded baseball cap. His left sleeve hung empty. His arm had been amputated,
below the elbow everything I remember the most was I was.
That I had just ruin somethin for Joseph. The video has the air of a confession. Soft told the camera. The attack was entirely his fault.
He'd violated Joe safety protocols. You know him he fights of enough, as as it is
and this I knew would just make it harder on it. So my biggest thing was telling him. Also
an older man, with a haggard face wearing in India,
Jones, had stood beside
the camera asking questions. This had been the most terrifying,
America will be. His name was Rick Kirkham and he was a veteran
heavy journalist. It was great.
We raw moments like these, the maid Rick, want to come to work at the Cheetah Eu Zoo in first place, Rick had been a senior producer and insight
Dixon for years where he was known as the
venture man, but now in two thousand fourteen he had a new role. Jos tv producer.
There is no comparing anything to Joe exotic
and then Zoo
I knew within an hour a being there. This is a once in a lifetime chance, Joe wanted rector run as web show, but Rick had bigger plants, basically
his personality was like unable boy George on steroids, so I was captain.
Men and I immediately thought. Oh there's a reality. Tv show right here. It just screen
million dollar show the timing seemed perfect, shows like Doug Dynasty and here comes honey. Bubu were all the rage
have this wild game, redneck crazies raymie
guy running around with guns on on his hips and shooting them in the air and he's got
figures in Lyons running around was limping Rick, moved the zeal and start,
following Joe around all day, with a camera capturing little personal dramas around the part when you
Husband left him for a woman working at the gift shop, Joe made sure Rick caught his heartbreak on camera. Emily's. Greece
Turning it appeared, joy, exotic and John
You broke my heart and it was just like you,
not believe what you were watching chasms almost yet aluminium go or guy. I'm Brownrigg,
I know, was Eric Mademoiselle, ok, yeah, my sound good young, oh great, Davy Jones. Thank you.
But mammals him and was home and of course, Rick also heard a lot about Karel Van
Ask him: ok, I my last ran up the evening is gonna play about all that crap curl by
skin and our lamp, a partner
She was still pursuing Joe for the million dollars he odor from the lawsuit. I love each and every one of you and care. What many I've got you Joe believe Carol was also finding other ways to get to him and the people around
one time when Rick's producer was razetta computer, the files started moving across the screen all by themselves,
It is crazy, showed up
nobody's gonna cave or the mouth they'd been hacked.
I want to live in.
Recalling Joe on the radio saying you get down here- somebody is literally controlling this from somewhere else. We never found
HU. We pull the plug on everything, changed all passwords, but yet
There was somebody who was in the computer system. Do you think it was Carol?
I know now I honestly can't say Joseph O Dell absolutely Carol
Joe out his way. Everything was girls ball in six months after he arrived Rick received a call from Joe. You need to come to the hospital. He said. I'm dying. I've been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Rick rushed to the hospital and found Joe lying in bed. Shirt was with an eye
in his arm and tubes in his nose he looked horrible, his lips raw
black and covered in source, and he lays means? Are we already we rolling and he lays bare,
the ban, any country close his eyes
I don't know how much longer I've gone when you know until nine by whereas I'm gonna take care alleys. Exotic animals, like I promised you fight
Basque and Billy in Peking
kill me I'll be around, but only
held as array
to show this one. Had it all humor drama, even death, and it turned out joke
can provide the theme song me pull out. They saw in
I knew it was you. I wrote it
play about me and I'm
Pay musician is, as I am, a musician I'm Joe exotic is then I gotta
songs, Amazon, Joe S, really really good standing. My true loves were met
Facade went on for about three months before I finally figured out a it. Wasn't him singing be he had written Rick discovered that most of you
songs had been written in recorded by a couple of country, artists in Washington, State
He came to me one day, I'm trying member sates only I'm giving you and I thought what a familiar
Joe, this beautiful song. Oh yeah, I wrote it is not an end
It was one, unlike my camera people, camels and right. That's like
sooner or later, and so on.
On one particularly busy day at the zoo, reckless filming a tour.
He was sitting behind about a hundred visitors when he spotted a tiger it had gotten loose.
It was slinking around just twenty feet from the crowd and getting closer.
Rick signalled one of the animal trainers who
Julie lured into a cage with a piece of meat. Somehow unnoticed later
came to reckon the studio
just a grammar, gamma ray: let's go,
with their money goes on.
You know I need more space anywhere in this tiger. Call me enough problems. Oleg Orlov is him shop, a male tiger right man he's a level teach a mention weight, it wasn't just cruel. It's also a federal crime tigers are endangered species. You can't just shoot them in the head.
Joe says he did kill a tiger after escaped, but not while Rick was there.
But Reagan, Sis. He Sancho do this more than once in this whole thing. Was this one sick in our or this one is lame, or something like that? More of an odd, he killed the tigers because we needed more space debris, others in that one more valuable. After seven months of filming, it was time for Rick
make a demo real to pitch to tv networks. He was thinking about what the money shot would be so Rick had someone build a giant wooden throne with red satin upholstery, he put it in the middle of the Big Tiger, cage on the day, the shoe he had just sit on it wearing a red velvet cap. In a crown,
like. He was a king. He shot it from above using a drone. It was unbelievable, came out so beautiful. Two days later brick says he came.
The office it won in the morning and found
you're sitting alone. It is computer in the dark
having this twelve second shot over and over. We applaud
John Loser Plum formed. My mamma Mamma Mamma Mamma, has grown, flew in the harmonic kings, Rony Stanza round
Over and over he was playing this fine sounding off track.
May I got a hard on his way to the man
Creating a monstrous geology.
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Right now. Rick Kirkham eventually finish. This is a real and set it off.
Number of major tv networks. The real captured Jos Wild side,
bed beverage Joe getting pounced on by a tiger Joe coaxing, a baby
alligator to bite is employed on the nipple, Joe shooting
another employed with a blogger.
It painted him is eccentric and unpredictable
no good hearted rescue it that truly rescued animals that is safer, dying on its dead and you bring
back. How do you have that connection written his partner,
not the shore round to a few cable networks. He was hopeful, but when Rick finally heard back from them one after another, they said the same thing Joe was too controversial and would put them off in particular,
Jos Tiger breeding and is viewed with the animal rights activists.
Was starting to look like the tv show is never gonna happen, but someone was watching Rick's videos. One day he received a facebook method
That said, Ricky need to know who you're working for you obviously have conventional journalist
meta we'd up and she sent me some links between about Joe and his abuse in the kind of guy was smaller. The message was from Carol, Baskin Rick took it to Joe. I salute
Can I ask that you haven or after is contact and he's in play along with it?
violent, Gideon, Goodwin or find out once more on. This may be our chance and why I consider the Tampa if you wanna meet whether Rick did ass, he was told so I'd. I'd, just touch backward,
and say I keep hearing map and you know what is it now mean Andras territorial reality show and she tax banks. They were pretty simple little tax but Joe.
To him. He had a contact now that was directly told
in the corral and confine now what was going on in world, and he wanted me to play a regular later.
Come to believe that showing Joe those tax was a mistake one. They would almost cost him his life
as the year war on rigs.
At the zoo is starting to weigh on him. He was
drinking a lot and its relationship with Joe was starting to sour one Sunday night
Joan Rick were sitting in the office. The shells fulfilled the Joe exotic theme, t, shirts and other stuff. He had ordered, but no one had bought.
Joe was chain smoking, Marlborough lights. He was stressed-
The ongoing Lawsy with Carol was costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars and legal fees. That night
Joe demanded to know how much money you have earned from the reality show and when he would get it I said I'll show
I own everything has been shown in this new since I've been here per hour contract. I said
so the money will come to me. I will then give you your share of the money on that point.
Oh god so furious his look. Man I'll run you under vines Joe. At this point, you can only have the part I can still see the show
buzzard. He when you you,
How do I know you're London and deal with Carol Basque, and I know I know, what's gonna, come out you new money, going to tell me what you're gonna put in the show that we have this Bay organs said Joe. You really want to push me. You know how much I have on tape. I told him. Look, mother fucker! You don't want the worrying to see the video. I have because little put you in jail and will take this park away.
Anyone you, mother, Fucker, get the fuck out of my office the next morning when we tried to open the door to the studio he couldn't get in. He says the locks had been changed
and Joe was nowhere to be found.
Two days later. Rick was asleep in his trailer.
It was six in the morning, get your camera somebody's borrows studio, gown and really want
It isn't get your hands it. We got locum they're, all Lily studio, Rick rushed to the studio. The door was hanging off the hinges and the white metal walls were hard blackened gray from this.
She peered inside there was nothing
This is, though, someone had led an oven inside the studio and
was nothing. There was nothing but four inches of ash and water from the far apart
Will we have level rags, metal, desks, computers and out
couldn't tell what had been America's. There was not a fine bone, so hot in there and those hard drives with everything wretched recorded from the past year. They were gone
nice, that back after seeing that and I dropped to my knees- and I cried- and I lost my mind in that moment- and I I said: listen I'm out of here and I'm grabbing my dog and I'm going back and good luck
let them do anymore and
and I remember wink common aims and red baby I'll come in. They want to talk to you like telling the call me in Dallas Gaza
I'm requests that day will investigators combed over the charred ruins they found irregular burn
patterns the smell of something like gasoline, which led them to believe this was the work of an arsonist three days after the fire rituals backed Oklahoma, to pick ups
commitment. He left at the zoo. I walked in the door and everybody looked at me like I was an alien and war through to the back part.
And this curious
couple of guys came running call the police
learning bound. He got twenty thousand dollars when Karel Basque and we know what the fuck are. You talking about. The employees claim Joe. It found emails from Carol offering money for his hot
drives and they have a police com. I, the the I
Talking about, I came to get my proverbs and police anyway. You need to leave them far. Rick asked if he could get the rest of his stuff from his trailer. One of the employees said no,
Joe says everything stays until it goes through information or even stealing online gambling
I never went back and I do not want to go about it.
The world of Joe Exotic was so. It was a farce
it wasn't real after you left wreck one.
Forget all about. I was a jury.
When I went in
honestly soul out my own journalistic ethics, because I knew I had an unbelievable million loan or show on my hands, and so I I look the other way on a lot of bad shit than even the animals
harmed, the verbal abuse
Not to mention the wise it turned out.
He'll. Never even had cancer rigs
move into a new place in Dallas. Six months later, in the middle of the night, Rick woke up to find his bedroom filled
Smoke punch, do a glass window and lost conscious?
before he could get out fire fighters hold them from the building with minutes despair
Rick spent two weeks in the hospital and survived his dog was not as lucky
neither case was ever saw
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls is a little bit of surveillance on the back
after the fire
Joe went online and started begging for donations, he said he needed a hundred
Fifty thousand dollars to rebuild the studio
air station in the green
surveillance, video, a tall man
go down the road outside the zoo at night, he's wearing a hat, so you can't see his face, but Joe have we hints
The man in the video is Rick
we're coming out from suddenly the Jew was desperate,
dreams of being a reality. Tv star had literally gone up in flames. His zeal
was drowning in debt and he was losing his battle with Carol Basket. Luckily, for him, help was about to arrive,
in a white homer over my dead body, Joe Exotic comes from wondering the makers of dirty
on doktor, death and imagined life hosted by the award, winning actress, Virginia Madsen and prolific voice actor, Robbie diamond. If you ever wondered what it's like to step into someone's life before they were famous or in some cases infamous imagined life will give you that opportunity throughout each episode of imagined, life can be taken on a journey through the life of a world. Famous person get clues to your identity along the way and only at the end we find out who you really are listened to an episode of imagined life, and you realize that you have more in common with Oprah Bill Gates or J K rolling than you might think, stay tuned to the end of this episode.
For a preview of imagined life and don't forget to subscribe to imagine life on apple podcast or wherever you're. Listening to this right now, the fire Jos Zoo Maiden
A story reign in the early times entitled Michael Jackson's pet algae
there's burned alive in animal park fire. It's true that Joe had rescued an alligator from Michael Jackson's estate, but in fact that alligator had survived. It was the younger gaiters that died
in any case fairly timetable and caught my eye. That was how I first heard about Joe exotic. Two months later, I arrived at the zoo, well
was there Joe said, he's expecting another visitor, a fellow big cat. We
standing out in the gravel parking lot near Jos House, when a white homer rolled up a man stepped out, bring a black baseball cap over a black. Do rag and a black clad shirt with him were his wife and two kids, one of whom was holding a baby White Tiger. We went inside Jos House, it was dark in the beige carpet was stained with steel cat piss, his brown couch with scratched to shreds from all the Cubs, and we are dogs, joy,
is there. The man put his White Tiger down on the carpet. Then one of Jos employees brought in a lighter cub. She was big and fluffy like us
animal come to life, she was
huddled over to the Tiger cub and sniffed him suspiciously located
I was not aware tat. The man was clearly interested in buying a cub from Joe, but he was careful not to say it out loud, at least not around
me come back for this job. Cats played on the floor, Joe in the man disappeared into the kitchen and discuss something in hush tones later
when he was outside getting ready to leave. I introduce me
self to the man in black. His name was Jeff low
he had ten skin and neatly trimmed gray goatee and
blue eyes. Jeff told me
lived in South Carolina yonder
quotation. Business, reselling, the stuff of people
turn to Walmart, but he's real passion. He told me was
raising TIGERS in Lyons about
you're earlier, he had started collecting big cats and he kept them in a huge warehouse alongside the forklifts in cardboard boxes for patio furniture. Now he was looking to team
what job there was a property next to the zoo that he had his eye on four hundred thousand jobs today or ring facility proposed or where he said he
and by the land and build what he called a whole big breeding facility
It turned out. He and Jill shared more than just an interesting tigers, a few years back Jeff and planned to open a cub, petting zoo in South Carolina.
But just said someone had started an online petition about him. Complaining that is, tigers were small cages; eventually, the county blocked him for showing exotic cats guess who's behind it. He said
Carol, Bascombe she's, the devil Jeff claimed he found her cell phone number.
In call her up. I'm not. I don't go convergence pages.
As I will see you ass, I will sue your ass and I say that
How do you figure
If I lose
we'll do to you what you did to you:
husband while Joe is seeking out a new partner to keep a zoo afloat,
she was still in broiled, multiple lawsuits with Karel Baskin when Joe had lost
the original suit. Two years earlier, he had tried to get out.
Paying the million dollar debt by filing for bankruptcy,
changing the name of a zoo and shuffling his assets around to hide them. The baskets had suit him for that too, so that
were provided a mediator to sort it all out and
they nearly did in a rare moment in this long feud. The two parties sat down and really tried to hash it out in person. In late, two thousand fifteen Joe and carols husband, Howard Baskin, met in an office,
building in Oklahoma City Howard was in a suit and tie Joe was wearing a teacher, they sat down opposite each other
in the meeting began and we start the conversation and we're into it.
Five minutes when Joe blows up and goes into one of his rats and I
we only remember one where he goes well well, I can do what you
guys doing why on the internet to make money. I have to be honest in my stuff that I posted on the internet. So now I just can't do that
continued ranting for a long time times,
I've, been in the room with Joe my attitude.
Has been to just ignore all
stuff is put online and even the horrible crime.
Sexually organ stuff and just be a professional and
shake his hand,
glaring. There was no point,
my being emotional, they returned to the negotiations. It took twelve hours in total
They eventually hammered out a deal Joe agreed to pay. A set of modest monthly payments.
Over the course of many years, but in return you would have to make a big concession. He would have to agree to stop cub bedding and breeding big cats altogether, and we came to a handshake.
Finally, the end of Carol in Jos Years long feud was inside the basket. Lawyers typed up a deal in mail that Jos lawyers, but then days went by without any word from jail
the following week. The mediators arranged a conference, call it just it wasn't going right. There was something wrong with it. There was this discord and it was unclear what it was
Howard tried to set the conversation street. He asked shows attorney. What exactly is the problem?
Is there something missing here at which point a voice says you don't get it we're not doing this deal, which is a shock to every? Why? But the voice is not one. We recognise the meteor says who speak employees and the person answers Jeff Low, the meteor says, sir. You can't beyond this call. This call is only for the parties and their lawyers and Jeff low
says well, as far as I know, it's a free goddamn country and I could be on any goddamn Paul. I wanna be on
and the media are so sir. That's incorrect. If you're gonna knock it off the call, then we have to terminate the call at
point. Forgive my language. English repeated the direct quote. Jeff flow says
well it all I want to say is for cowardice. Is count wife, later Jeff posted a comment under one of Jos, Facebook
We have the solution to that. Bitch see this weekend,
to put the wheels in motion their solution?
for Joe to sign ownership of the zoo, overdid Jeff in return. Jeff would help Joe fight Carol, both in and out of court.
When things turn deadly
from wondering this is episode for of six.
Over my dead body. This
It is called Joe Exotic, a story about two
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Joe Exotic was written in
or did buy meat. Robert more
Socio producer is Chris Siegel story. Editor is Josh Block produced by Heather sure
sound design by Jeff Schmidt, executive produce by George Lavender.
Shall Louis and her non Lopez for one.
Imagine. You are standing in a construction sites with paint rush in your hand,
You take a step back and look up at the massive mural you ve been painting across the wall of the tavern, its thirty feet, long and eight feet high
and abstracted city skyline rendered
vivid, ochres, greens, reds and oranges it'll be mine,
before any one sees it, but when
Do your hope it'll make them
you the way you feel now acutely alive
You ve never felt more creative, more product,
or more engaged in your work, your forty,
seven years old, with the energy
a teenager for the first,
I'm in a while. You are truly happy.
For the first time in your life. You are truly in love.
You look over at your son perched up here
on a ladder painting he's.
One or two years old, your second eldest
relationships been tested in the past five years you been trying to make good with him
a John you hungry, starving
I brought you a sandwich
John climbed down the ladder and takes the sandwich with a smile,
I'd buy side is the closest you felt since he was a boy
a worker policies head in the tavern golf
the message and working hours of work? You take a deep breath and head for the construction office ass. This is he slowdown up. I can't hear you a chill
the back of your neck. It spreads outward as you listen
your spine into your lungs to your heart.
You hang up the phone and walked back towards the tavern steps.
Oh and deliberate, like your shoes are filled with cement.
To the tavern and lock eyes with John everything. Ok, dad you struggled to speak dad. What is it
He leaned against a table for support what happen you're. Scaring me
I was hairs from down the road. You spend a fire. Where was anyone heard house? He said it's
Still. I don't know you grip the table even harder
splattered every, whereas you nervously knock over the table. I think I heard someone. Instead, you pray. It is in her.
Please don't let it be her
Transcript generated on 2020-02-16.