Shaquille O’Neal has set the record straight after a brief cameo in new Netflix series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
The docuseries, currently the most-watched show on Netflix, details the life and crimes of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, known as Joe Exotic or Tiger King. Shaq is seen in one of the episodes visiting the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma; the former Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat superstar also took a photo with Joe Exotic.
Having come under fire for his involvement, O’Neal addressed the cameo on his The Big Podcast with Shaq this week, explaining that he discovered the sanctuary when going to Oklahoma for a game between the OKC Thunder and Dallas Mavericks by bus.
“On the way we see a sign that says ‘Tiger Sanctuary,'” he said in quotes transcribed by CNN.com. “So we go in there and it’s a beautiful place and the character that was there was Exotic Joe.”
The former center said he took some photos and donated for food for the big cats. “We went back a couple times,” he continued. “Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff and then, actually, I stopped going. I had no idea all that stuff was going on.”
Maldonado has since been sentenced to 22 years in prison after being convicted of multiple charges which include putting a hit out on animal rights activist Carole Baskin.
O’Neal reveals having binge-watched the series, adding he isn’t worried about his reputation as people know he’s a good guy.
“People that know me, they know I’m righteous,” he declared. “I don’t harm tigers. I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time.”
On Maldonado, he said: “Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”