While he hasn’t exactly gotten himself into the kind of hot water that Mr. Exotic has, that doesn’t mean Antle hasn’t had his share of legal issues. He rather reliably has visits from the USDA, which has slapped him and his facility with hefty four-figure fines in the past. Most recently, he had to deal with a whole-facility search and seizure operation in the latter half of 2019 — but it wasn’t related to Joe Exotic’s legal woes. In this case, the USDA was tracking the genetic lineage and sale of lion cubs kept at a Virginia private zoo that had been charged with criminal animal abuse, leading to all the animals being seized by authorities there. Antle has not been charged with anything in connection with the incident.
What does he think of Tiger King? Well, to put it bluntly, he retained a lawyer after seeing the trailer for the series, though that appears to have been mostly a knee-jerk reaction on his part, as he didn’t anticipate just how heavily he would be featured. He has since decided the docuseries “isn’t as bad as I thought,” according to Vanity Fair. It’s likely the USDA as well as animal rights groups will continue to be a thorn in his side, though only time can tell if the pressure will result in any substantial changes to how Antle runs his business. He’s quite used to the impositions, and shows no signs of reevaluating himself: “I have been running our own conservation program for 38 years. I have been trying to figure out what can be done to save tigers many many decades…. Either I’m 100% conning you, or it’s real,” he explained further to Vanity Fair. That’s certainly a particular rhetorical tactic to employ after being heavily featured in an investigative docuseries, but we can’t help but be impressed by his boldness.