Kirkham was working on his own reality TV show about Exotic that never came to fruition after a suspicious blaze destroyed the footage ― a fire Kirkham believes was set by Exotic.
Now, in a series of interviews released over the weekend, Kirkham is speaking out about some things that didn’t make the Netflix show.
“I witnessed him shoot and kill two tigers for no reason whatsoever, just because he was pissed off at them,” Kirkham told the Daily Beast.
Kirkham said one tiger tried to attack Exotic inside a cage.
“So he said, ‘Hey Rick, watch this! Shoot this,’ and I videotaped him shooting one right in the head,” he alleged. “The other one was, Joe had been in surgery and tried to wake up early, and he was so scared of one of the tigers that he shot and killed the thing.”
Kirkham also said that when Exotic was in a bad mood, he’d kick a chicken into a tiger cage just to watch it get mauled.
“That was just the kind of guy he was,” Kirkham told the Daily Beast. “He enjoyed seeing people and animals hurt. He enjoyed it. He got off on it.”
Kirkham called Exotic “pure evil” and said he can’t believe people could watch the show and have any sympathy for him.
Kirkham also told E! that tigers and chickens weren’t Exotic’s only victims. He allegedly once promised a woman he’d care for her horse and let it use his pasture.
“Before she got off the park — he said, ‘Rick, roll your camera. Roll your camera. Come on, you’re gonna love this, Rick,’” Kirkham said. “He walked up, pulled a gun out of his holster and shot the horse dead in the trailer and then cut it up with a chainsaw and then fed it to the tigers that day.”
In a new episode of “Tiger King,” featuring interviews with some of the cast, Kirkham said Exotic was actually afraid of his own tigers.
“And in the shots that you see in there where he’s in with the two tigers, the white one and the other one, the white one is blind and the other one is on tranquilizers,” Kirkham said. “It’s idiotic to think how he’s become famous as ‘the Tiger King’ when he’s so terrified of big cats.”
And in a pay-per-view webcast over the weekend, Kirkham said he wasn’t proud of himself for working with Exotic.
“I sold my soul to the devil being in that zoo,” he said, according to CNET. “In my case, I gotta live with what I did.”
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for, among other things, trying to hire someone to kill Carol Baskin, the owner of a Florida wildlife sanctuary with whom he was feuding, as detailed in the Netflix series.