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People Are Warning Each Other About a Triggering Suicide Scene in Netflix's 'Tiger King'

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Warning: This piece contains spoilers about the docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

If you don’t have personal triggers around graphic depictions of suicide or abuse and are planning to watch Netflix’s new docuseries, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” stop reading now — the following post contains spoilers.

But if you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, struggle with suicidal ideation or have attempted suicide in the past, there’s a scene we want you to be aware of in episode five, “Make America Exotic Again.”

“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is a seven-part documentary series that follows the true story of Joe Exotic (real name: Joseph Maldonado-Passage), a large cat breeder who ran the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma before being arrested and convicted for the murder-for-hire plot against animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

The series has been well-received (it has a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but some folks have taken to Twitter to warn others about a triggering scene during episode five.

Episode five explores the details leading up to the suicide of one of Joe’s husbands: Travis Maldonado. Though the suicide itself is offscreen, Travis took his life in front of another zoo employee, and the documentary shows the surveillance footage of the man who witnessed it. In the footage (around the 20-minute mark), we see the zoo employee’s look of shock as he watches Travis die by suicide. There was no suicide content warning at the beginning of the episode.

If you’re someone who’s sensitive to depictions of suicide, it’s OK to skip “Tiger King.” Or, if you still want to see it, it might be helpful to watch it with someone you trust. If you’re struggling while watching, you can always text “HOME” to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Stay safe and take care of yourself. Your mental well-being is more important than being “in the know” about a popular show.

Header image via Twitter

Originally published: March 30, 2020
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