Shaq Urged to Cut Ties With ‘Tiger King’ Exhibitor

After Shaq Disavows Joe Exotic, PETA Calls Him Out for Apparently Offering Support to Joe's Former Business Partner, Jeff Lowe

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – This week, PETA fired off a letter to Shaquille O’Neal asking him to cut ties with Jeff Lowe—a notorious animal exhibitor who appears on Netflix’s Tiger King, faces arrest in Las Vegas over his failed big-cat cub petting venture there, and has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The letter comes after viewers spotted him rubbing elbows with Joe Exotic at the G.W. Exotic Animal Park on Tiger King. Although Shaq quickly stated that he has no relationship with Joe, Jeff—who now owns the roadside zoo—just posted a photo on Facebook of himself purportedly “FaceTiming” with and receiving support from Shaq.

“Jeff Lowe is no better than Joe Exotic when it comes to tearing baby big cats away from their mothers and exploiting them for photo ops,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet, who appears on Tiger King. “Shaq clearly loves tigers, and PETA is asking him to cut ties with Jeff and anybody else who profits from breeding and abusing them.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit

PETA’s letter to Shaquille O’Neal follows.

Dear Mr. O’Neal,

We saw your statement about not being as involved with Joe Exotic as the Tiger King documentary has made it seem. It appears that the equally problematic wild-animal exhibitor, Jeff Lowe, is now claiming to have your support.

Given your disavowal of Joe, we were surprised when this photo was posted on Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park’s Facebook page last week, purportedly showing you communicating with Lowe via FaceTime and alleging that you offered him support.

It’s clear that you love tigers, and we hope you will dissociate yourself from people who profit from abusing, breeding, and exploiting them. Lowe is no different from Joe Exotic when it comes to harming animals.

Lowe has a long history of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. He continues to tear baby big cats away from their mothers and forces them to interact with the public. There is still an active warrant for his arrest in Las Vegas relating to charges of holding exotic animals and operating a business without a license, following a failed big-cat cub petting venture in that city. And now, thanks to Tiger King, much of the world is knowledgeable about the abuse that exhibitors like Lowe, Joe Exotic, and Doc Antle are responsible for.

Will you please make it clear right away that you don’t desire to have an ongoing relationship with Lowe? As long as he continues to use your name to support his abusive business, you will be tied to animal suffering. Instead, please help these tigers. Help us shut down these hellholes, move the animals to reputable sanctuaries, and keep them out of the hands of abusers.


Rachel Stotts

Celebrity Relations Manager


For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind