‘He Didn’t Pay Him To Go Kill Carole’: ‘Tiger King’s John Reinke On Joe Exotic’s Pardon & More

Even months into quarantine, there’s no way you could forget about the sensation that is Tiger King and all of its fascinating characters like John Reinke, the former manager of Joe Exotic’s G.W. Zoo. Reinke has found a new girlfriend after his departure from the G.W. Zoo, as he reported on “The Tiger King and I” reunion hosted by Joel McHale. Unfortunately for him, Texas courts are out of session due to the pandemic, so his divorce still hasn’t been finalized. And we thought Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler had the messiest pandemic split. Sara Levine, Betches EIC and host of Not Another True Crime Podcast, sat down with John for a video interview.

Tiger King Experience

Though Tiger King has literally become synonymous with quarantine, Reinke never thought much about the documentary while it was being filmed. “There were so many film crews in and off the park, it was just kind of like everyday stuff, you know, I didn’t think anything of it. We had several producers come on and say ‘hey, we’re going to make a documentary out of this.’ Yeah, whatever.”

Like the rest of America, Reinke watched the show right when it came out. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t portrayed wrong, I just know how some of the media takes it out of context and makes you look worse than what you are.” Despite some of his castmates’ complaints, Reinke thinks “everybody was portrayed right.” 

Free Joe Exotic

In Reinke’s view, the story of Joe Exotic’s crimes got twisted around. “He didn’t deserve 22 years. Did he do some stuff wrong? Yeah. Was he provoked into paying somebody? He didn’t pay him to go kill Carole, he paid him to get off his park so he’d leave us alone.” Even from behind bars, Joe is campaigning to have his name cleared. “I’m really, really shocked about how much he’s actually accomplishing from jail,” comments Reinke. And Joe’s efforts are pretty aggressive. He’s even commissioned a huge bus to travel to D.C. to beg President Trump to #HelpFreeJoe, a presidential pardon (omg, can you imagine Donald and Joe together? That would be some major quarantine hair inspo.)

Though they’re not exactly BFFs, Reinke says that they had a strong working relationship. “I was close to Joe. He knew I could run the zoo and I could run the staff, and he took care of everything else.” Unfortunately, he’s now in prison for allegedly trying to “take care” of a certain flower crown-wearing enemy.

Carole Did It

Obviously, the biggest meme controversy the show created was whether Carole Baskin, Joe’s archnemesis, really did kill her husband. Though Reinke’s never met her personally, he has met her second husband Howard when he visited the zoo during the copyright lawsuit between Carole and Joe. According to Reinke, “he was really nice to me” (and I guess you’ve gotta be pretty nice if you’ll let your wife parade you around on a leash on your wedding day dressed in a tiger print toga), but Reinke still says that “It’s been crammed down my throat all these years, not just from Joe, it’s been crammed down my throat from all the animal people in the world that Carole killed her husband. So it was just in your mind that Carole did it.”

Newfound Notoriety

barbie & Kendra

And it looks like Tiger King won’t be Reinke’s only claim to fame. He appears in a new comedy from Full Moon Features, Barbie and Kendra Save the Tiger King, out via Full Moon Features. Essentially, the movie follows two total ditzes on their journey to save a young Joe Exotic from a plane crash. Yes, you heard me right. “It’s just something to break up the monotony from this Covid thing that’s got everybody tense,” Reinke says. And he’s right—I watched the trailer, and tbh it’s basically a crossover episode between Apocalypse Now and The Simple Life

If you still can’t get enough of watching people who are inexplicably obsessed with big cats, you’re in luck. To hear more about Joe Exotic, real life catfights, a Tiger King movie (possibly featuring Matthew McConaughey as Reinke, which honestly isn’t the worst idea ever), watch the full interview below.

Images: Tread365.com; TMZ; NightmarishConjurings.com

10 Netflix Documentaries To Fuel Your Feminist rage

Happy International Women’s Day, betches! On this, most badass of holidays, it’s important to take time to recognize the strong, empowering women who paved the way for a new generation of women to keep fighting for change and equality (so, like, call your mom and tell her you love her). To help get you started, here’s a list of 10 of the best feminist Netflix documentaries you can stream right now if you too want to feel the passion of rallying at the Women’s March without leaving the comfort of your bed.

1. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

When discussing the women’s movement, it’s v important to start at the inception of what we know as popular feminism today. This documentary focuses on the leaders and history of the feminist movements of the 1960s-70s. Just because they hadn’t come up with the Pussy Hat yet, doesn’t mean these women didn’t know how to host a solid protest.

2. The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground delves deep into the all too disturbing reality of campus sexual assault. This documentary sheds a light on the corruption of many universities trying to protect their image and favoring money over justice for their students, while also highlighting the brave students who spoke up, took a stand, and fought for their stories to be heard. Also, this is the documentary that brought us that STUNNING Lady Gaga song, “Til’ It Happens To You,” so like, get ready to shed a tear or two.

3. Gaga: Five Foot Two

Speaking of the Queen, Lady Gaga’s documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, is a super intimate and vulnerable look into Gaga’s life. It follows her through the heartbreak of breaking up with her fiancé, writing her Joanne album, dealing with chronic pain, and eventually slaying the fucking Super Bowl. If you’re looking for a fierce and resilient role model, look no further than Stefani Germanotta. YAAAAS GAGA!

4. Paris Is Burning

Ahem…*picks up megaphone*…Feminism isn’t feminism unless it’s intersectional, y’all! If Ru Paul’s Drag Race is your favorite reality competition (if it’s not, it should be), then Paris Is Burning is a must-watch. This 1990 documentary explores the elaborate and extravagant “drag ball” competitions, focusing on the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender performers who used drag as an expression of personality and gender identity in a celebratory and inclusive space. Brush up on the origins of vital drag vocabulary, such as “mother,” “realness,” reading,” and “voguing” before your next 2am romp through the Hell’s Kitchen bar scene.

5. Seeing Allred

Gloria Allred is one of the most famous attorneys in America, and a certified HBIC of leading the crusade against the war on women. This documentary features interviews with Allred, as well as many of her loyal supporters and harshest critics, and focuses on how her own personal trauma led her to turn her survivor status into a beacon of hope and action for other women in sexual violence cases. Come for the icon, stay for the conversations about Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. Let’s just say ya girl doesn’t hold back.

6. Hot Girls Wanted

Hot Girls Wanted takes a look inside the exploitation of young women in the world of amateur internet porn. It’s a startling look into how easy it is for teens and young women who are already so plugged into social media and technology to get lured in by the appeal of using their bodies to make a little extra cash. Also, this documentary was produced by Rashida Jones – aka poetic and noble land-mermaid Ann Perkins – so you already know it’s going to be good.

7. A Ballerina’s Tale

If you don’t already know who Misty Copeland is, your homework is to watch this doc ASAP. As the first black principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater, Copeland is a serious inspiration to girls everywhere. She’s proof that you can follow your dreams, regardless of race, and has come to represent a new, elegant, gorgeous addition to the world of professional dance. I do have to subtract some points, though, because not once did this movie feature a psychotic Natalie Portman Black Swan ballerina breakdown. Lame. (Just kidding).

8. Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric

One of the most respected and noteworthy anchorwomen of all time, Katie Couric, takes a fascinating in-depth look at the way gender expression has changed overtime and the ways society is learning to adjust to a broader perspective. Gender Revolution touches upon transgenderism, pronouns, gender performance, and the ongoing civil rights debates surrounding equality and equal representation. Katie’s soothing, extremely likable tone is the perfect vehicle to bring emotional and inspiring interviews together and teach us all a little more about the impact of gender in our world.

9. Queen Mimi

OMG is this woman a fucking trip. Mimi Haist is a homeless woman living in a laundromat in Santa Monica, who garnered a sort of local celebrity status thanks to her firecracker personality, positive attitude, and passion for living an independent life with no regrets – and also the color pink. Some of Mimi’s friends include A-list celebrities like Renée Zellweger and Zach Galifianakis, who actually brought her as his date to the red carpet premiere of The Hangover III. I can only hope to be half the hilarious badass queen Mimi is when I’m in my 80s, but also I can’t even bring myself to leave my apartment to go to the laundromat when my clothes are overflowing out of my hamper so I don’t think I’m cut out to live in one.

10. Miss Representation

Rounding out the list is a recent classic (seriously, this documentary was assigned viewing in at least three of my Women’s & Gender Studies classes in college). This 2011 film peels back the curtain on how mainstream media represents women, often undermining their influence, or reducing them to spectacles to be looked at rather than listened to. For example: those commercials where Kate Upton has to shove a whole hamburger in her face while her boobs are practically escaping from her shirt. This documentary will enrage you, empower you, and make you want to call every advertising company and TV writer and help crack down on unfair representation in every form of media. It’s the least we can do.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

10 Netflix Documentaries That Will Make You Woke AF

The holidays are a upon us and that can only means we’ll all be spending a lot of time at home watching Netflix. And sure, you could use this valuable Netflix time to re-watch every episode of Friends or veg out to Great British Bake Show (understandable), but you could also *drumroll please* learn some shit. Crazy, I know, but in addition to being an archive of all your guiltiest pleasures, Netflix is also home to a bunch of amazing documentaries that will help anyone who included “get woke” on their list of resolutions.

Here are 10 docs to add into your queue that will make you go from “the drunk one” to “the one who won’t shut the fuck up about this documentary she just saw” ASAP.

For The Vegan Environmentalist: Cowspiracy

Sure, you know eating meat is mean to the animals, but did you know that, like you with a hangover, it also requires an insane amount of water? Like, more water than we currently have. And unlike you, the Earth can’t send a fuckboy out to bring it Gatorade. This doc explores all the environmental effects of your obsession with chicken parms, *and* takes time to shade most environmental groups for ignoring this issue.

For The Business Betch: Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room

Like Katherine Heigel, Enron used to be like, a huge fucking deal, but now it barely exists. This doc explores how the fucked up finance bros of Enron low-key screwed over everyone, and casually kicked off the the financial crisis.

For The The Legit Activist: How To Survive A Plague

This documentary is about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s so — spoiler alert — it’s fairly depressing. That said, it focuses on the efforts of activist groups like ACT UP and TAG, and how they used peaceful protest to try and get Reagan to GAF about AIDS. It’s actually p. inspiring.

For The Religious Scholar: Jesus Camp

This documentary about an evangelical summer camp will confirm everything you ever thought about evangelical summer camp – it’s fucking bonkers. Yes, there is speaking in tongues. Yes, there is an insane rant about Harry Potter. And yes, they do pray over a powerpoint. Get ready to say “omg” and then get kind of nervous you just took the Lord’s name in vain.

For The Person Who Just Watched Jesus Camp And Wants To Get Even More Fucked Up: One Of Us

If you’re on a religious extremism kick (weird choice for the holidays but okay), One of Us is Netflix’s new documentary about three Hasidic Jews who attempt to leave their ultra orthodox community. It…doesn’t…go…great…

For The Person Who Can’t Handle Any More Depressing Shit: Meet The Patels

If you need to laugh for the first time ever in 2017, Meet The Patels is for you. This doc follows Ravi Patel (Master of None) as he tries to save his love life by letting his family play matchmaker for him. If you’ve ever wondered how dating is done in other cultures, this doc is for you.

For The True Crime Fanatic: The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

This doc looks into the mysterious death of Marsha P. Johnson, an LGBTQ activist who was a major player in the Stonewall riot. Her death was ruled a suicide, but as any true crime fan can tell you, “ruled a suicide” is usually code for “100% did not commit suicide.” This doc has a little bit of everything — LGBTQ history, never-before-seen footage, and a juicy unsolved murder to keep you focused on anything but your Aunt Diane’s divorce this holiday season.

For The Social Justice Warrior: 13th

This Academy Award winning documentary by Ava DuVernay about racial inequality in the justice system is like, a must watch for any self-respecting liberal snowflake. Be warned, you won’t walk away from this one feeling great about America, but you haven’t felt great about America for a while now so it’s NBD. 

For The Conspiracy Theorist With Time On Their Hands: Wormwood

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished Wormwood yet. That’s because it’s not just *one* documentary, it’s a whole series focused on the CIA’s use of experimental LSD during the Cold War. If you’re the type of person who has spent more than a few nights googling government cover-ups, this documentary will literally be your life for six whole episodes.

For The Political Junkie: Get Me Roger Stone

If you’ve spent every second since the 2016 election thinking, “HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN” let me introduce you to Roger Stone, aka, the Republican devil. Between his literal tattoo of Richard Nixon, and the fact that he told Donald Trump to run for president in the ‘80s, this doc will at least provide you with a new person to blame all of America’s problems on. 

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!