Why Joe Exotic Said He'd Shoot Justin Theroux's Cousin in the Head

Carol Baskin isn’t the only person he said he’d put a bullet in.

"Tiger King" certainly made him a worldwide star — but it wasn’t Joe Exotic’s first documentary appearance.

A clip from a 2011 series hosted by Louis Theroux has resurfaced online, in which the zoo owner jokes about shooting Justin Theroux’s cousin in the head in a mercy killing should he get attacked by one of his lions.

Theroux, a celebrated journalist and documentary filmmaker, interviewed Joseph Maldonado-Passage for his show "Louis Theroux: America’s Most Dangerous Pets", in which he toured the now infamous G.W. Zoo.

"If he was to get you, he would not kill you and eat you right away," Joe tells Louis in the clip. "He’s going to torment you. If you were to get in there and I was out here trying to get you out, he would be on top of you covering you up because you’re his. I would just shoot you, it would be more humane."

"You would shoot me in the head?" Theroux asks.

"Yeah," Joe replies in a burst of laughter. "Because I’m not going to get you back. So why make you suffer?"

"If I ever got attacked by a lion like that, shoot me please. That would go on for hours. Unless you shot the lion…"

Interestingly, as many of the federal charges against him relate to animal cruelty for shooting five of his tigers, Joe shoots both himself and Theroux before the lion in his hypothetical.

After the explosion in popularity of the insane Netflix doc, Theroux penned an opinion piece for The Times, as he reminisced about his time in the court of the Tiger King.

In it he said that while the zoo itself wasn’t necessarily something to be admired, "it was hard to dislike the man himself."

"Joe struck me as likeable and friendly. I warmed to him, and his ridiculousness was endearing rather than annoying."

He said that while filming his own documentary, a tornado came and left — "but an atmosphere of incipient catastrophe never quite let up the whole time I was with Joe."

"He seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis, constantly on the verge of financial ruin, handling low-level bites and maulings, and being hounded by ‘animal rights people’, as he put it," he wrote.

While Theroux said he greatly enjoyed the latest documentary, he admitted a "sense of envy and missed opportunity that I wasn’t involved in what has turned out to be a global smash."

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