Watch Chris Cuomo Interview Tiger King Dude After Zoo Worker’s Arm Was Ripped Off in 2013
“Tiger King” Joe Exotic aka Joe Schreibvogel and/or Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage has exploded into pop culture this week thanks to the Netflix docuseries, but CNN’s Chris Cuomo had him on screen first. Cuomo scored a 6-minute interview with the future surprise quarantine binge in 2013 after zoo worker “Saff” Saffery’s arm was ripped off by one of the king’s tiger subjects.
If you haven’t begun watching the addictive Netflix show, Saff’s accident is covered in episode two, so this isn’t that much of a spoiler. And if you were a viewer of CNN’s New Day back in October of 2013, then you got to see Cuomo grilling Mr. Exotic about the incident, and other controversies surrounding the GW Zoo.
Saff is a trans man, but at the time was referred to as a woman, as was the case in this October 7, 2013 interview.
At the top of the interview, Joe tells Cuomo that doctors were able to save Saff’s arm, but in the docuseries, Saff reveals that he decided to have it amputated rather than undergo the arduous recovery involved in saving the arm.
Cuomo then pressed Joe on the park’s track record, saying, “Well, the concern is obviously about whether or not the zoo is safe. You have come under fire before. Do you have a problem there in terms of safety with people working with the animals?”
Joe said the accident could have been much worse had his staff not been so well-trained, adding, “It’s no different than training somebody to get a driver’s license, all the driver’s license place can do is train them and if you choose to not use your blinker and cause a fatality accident, it’s not the driver license’s place’s fault. All we can do is hire people and train people here.”
In a snippet that made it into the series, Cuomo brought up problems that the zoo had encountered with PETA and the Humane Society, and asked Joe if the accident is “a reflection of what is not being done right at your zoo?”
Joe ripped the animal rights organizations, and told Cuomo, “People that have been here and visit to this zoo knows how nice this zoo is, how safe this zoo is. We’ve never had a customer injury to the point that any skin has ever been broke. This is our first incident here and we really don’t even want to entertain the comments of the Humane Society or PETA.”
Cuomo then pressed him on undercover video that showed, among other things, a child apparently being hurt by a tiger.
“In regards to the little boy with the tiger, the tiger never broke skin on that,” Joe told Cuomo. “We have been through the investigation with the USDA in regards to their so-called six-month undercover investigation.”
You can find out what happened next by checking out Netflix, or googling for spoilers if you’re a monster.
Watch the clip above via CNN.
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