SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach Safari owner ‘Doc’ Antle denied all allegations made in a new three-part docuseries that premiered Friday on Netflix.
The people featured in “Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story,” many of which either worked with Antle or had relationships with him when he lived in Virginia in the 1980s, accused him of having sexual relationships with multiple minors as an adult, said he conspired to forge the signature of a 15-year-old’s father in order to become legally married to her, physically abused multiple women and used deceptive financial practices as it relates to a fundraising organization.
News13 spoke to Antle over the phone on Friday afternoon. Antle referred to the original Tiger King series and the new docuseries as a “continually unfolding story” and not documentaries. He referred to the shows as having “salacious, wild ride stories” and said this newest show brings up “tall tales” from 35 years ago.
Multiple women said during the show that they had sexual relationships with Antle when they were just 14 or 15 years old. When asked about these claims, he denied them and said they were, “absolutely false”.
Antle was asked if he conspired to forge the signature of a 15-year-old’s father in order to be legally married to her. He denied the claim and says he doesn’t recognize the signature on the alleged forged document that was presented on the show. Antle said nothing was forged and he’s not sure the paperwork seen on the show is authentic.
He did admit to marrying the 15-year-old girl while on a honeymoon to Myrtle Beach, before he moved to the area, but said they had the permission from the girl’s parents. He also said the girl was almost 16 years old at the time. He referred to this marriage as a mistake and said they got divorced after about six months.
Antle was also accused of physically abusing multiple women. One woman, who Antle had a child with, said he beat her. Antle says these allegations are also “absolutely not true” and referred to them as “absolute hogwash”.
In the docuseries, allegations are made about how money that Antle has raised for the Rare Species Fund has been spent and whether much of the money goes back into his pocket. The Myrtle Beach Safari website says the fund was established in 1983 and “is a grassroots organization that provides financial support and practical training to wildlife conservation initiatives in situ.” The website goes on to say that fund’s support has primarily focused on projects in South America, Africa, and Thailand.
Antle told News13 on Friday afternoon that these allegations come from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which he referred to as the “new-age Al-Qaeda”. He says the fund has helped make a difference across the globe in various ways for decades. You can read more about the fund here.
PETA often criticizes Antle and urges federal officials to take action for what the organization says are animals being mistreated and mishandled at the Myrtle Beach Safari in Socastee. On Thursday, PETA sent this letter to the USDA demanding that the agency hold Antle accountable for alleged animal exploitation.
One woman referred to Antle on the show as the “Harvey Weinstein of the animal training business”. The T.I.G.E.R.S. facility at Barefoot Landing was also mentioned several times in the new docuseries.
We also asked Antle about Joe ‘Exotic’ Maldonado-Passage on Friday. Joe was also featured in the original Tiger King docuseries and was said to have been inspired by Antle to build his own park.
Antle says he believes there is a “very good possibility” that Joe will be released from prison. Antle says he was wrongly convicted of crimes. He went on to say that Joe is a clown, uses drugs, and has had other troubles and traumas but is not the ultimate bad guy.
Antle also denied being a member of what was described as a cult-like facility in Virginia decades ago called “Yogaville”, but did indicate he frequently visited the facility and very much respected the founder, Swami Satchidananda Saraswati. Antle said he taught Antle to live his life in a way that is “easeful, peaceful and useful”.
Following our interview, Antle sent News13 this statement via text message:
“Netflix is at it again with their tabloid style fiction based docufantasy: Tiger King “A Doc Antle Story.” It’s yet another one of Eric Goode silly, twisted and distorted stories of half truths and many lies about my life 23-35 yrs ago. The story is loosely strung together by Netflix producers who are always so factual…not! They conjure up a story about a small mist that they present as a cat 5 hurricane. They’ve brought in a variety of colorful 2nd and 3rd tier characters from my long past, all of whom attempt to tell a tale that never happened. We here at Myrtle Beach Safari operate the Ritz Carlton of wildlife preserves, one of the finest in the world. We have a fantastic staff, most of whom are family and have lived here for 20-25 plus yrs. If you want the truth, come and experience this for yourself, talk with us, and get to TRULY get to know us. We would love to have you. Peace and love Netflix and bless your hearts!”
You can watch the new show’s trailer here.
In January, Antle waived his right to appear in court on various wildlife trafficking charges stemming from an investigation tied to a Virginia animal park.