rip gators

Of Course Joe Exotic’s Alligators Belonged to Michael Jackson

The King of Pop meets the Tiger King. Photo: Phil Dent/Redferns/Getty Images/Courtesy of Netflix

Tiger King, Netflix’s latest viral docuseries, just keeps on giving. Although our social-distancing boredom craves Fyre Festival–level controversy to pass the days, we’ll settle for this Fyre Festival documentaries–level chaos. The latest addendum to Tiger King, which apparently needed multiple seasons, involves famous animal lover and accused child sexual abuser Michael Jackson. According to the Tiger King, Joe Exotic himself, seven alligators and one crocodile that used to belong to Jackson died when someone [wink-wink, nudge-nudge] burned down Exotic’s studio and crocodile enclosure. The arson comes later in the docuseries and wipes out Exotic’s recording studio and TV studio, not to mention several live creatures. But the doc didn’t say that there were famous alligators in the bunch! Back in 2015, the Los Angeles Times confirmed that Jackson’s seven gators and one croc did die in that fateful fire, citing Joe Exotic’s YouTube video of the incident, where he describes them “boiling alive in a towering inferno.” The reptiles were taken from Neverland Ranch when it closed and, according to Exotic’s ex-partner John Finlay, acquired by a former manager for the zoo. This story certainly didn’t need another alleged criminal added to the narrative, but it got one anyway.

Of Course Joe Exotic’s Gators Belonged to Michael Jackson