“Tiger King,” the Netflix documentary about Joe Exotic’s Oklahoma zoo and his fight against another big cat sanctuary in Florida, was among the top shows on the streaming platform over the weekend.
Viewers may have been surprised to see Shaquille O’Neal’s cameo on the show. The documentary showed O’Neal going through the zoo. The former NBA star quickly clarified his relationship with Exotic on the latest episode of his podcast “The Big Podcast with Shaq.”
He admitted he visited the zoo but doesn’t have a relationship with Exotic.
“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,” O’Neal said. “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 added: “I don’t harm tigers. 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.”
Exotic was convicted two counts of murder-for-hire, eight violations of the Lacey Act – which prohibits the trade of wildlife, fish and plants under illegal means – and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act.
He is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence.