‘Tiger King‘ introduces us to some of the biggest, strangest names in the tiger industry in America. And when it comes to big and strange names in the trade, one can’t help but think of Doc Bhagavan Antle. After all, the man has both Doctor and Bhagavan in his name. But as the series progresses, Doc Antle also becomes one of the most intriguing figures we encounter in ‘Tiger King’, both because of his trade and the lifestyle he leads.
The seven-part docuseries exposes us to a different side of the truth behind T.I.G.E.R.S., his wildlife institute, revealing a cult-like organization that Antle seems to operate. In case, like us, you too can’t stop thinking about what it is all really about and how much of it true, we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know.
Doc Antle’s Cult, Explained
In the second chapter of ‘Tiger King’, aptly titled, “Cult of Personality”, Mario Tabraue‘s wife, Maria, claims that Antle has three wives. When asked others who know him, the figures seem to multiply from 3 to 5 to 9. While this does not explain the cult-like lifestyle in T.I.G.E.R.S., Antle himself reveals that the organization is run by “a great big cohesive family unit”.
It becomes evident in the series that Antle may be in a relationship with three of his employees, China, Rajanee and Moksha, who he calls “my girls”. He also calls China his “long-term partner girlfriend”. While we do not learn much about his personal life from his own mouth, he does go on to say that he has a “complex personal life,” which is not meant for prime time television.
It is ultimately through Barbara Fisher‘s narrative that we are exposed to the depths of the cult-like organization that Antle operates. Fisher joined T.I.G.E.R.S. when she was only 19 years old and worked with Antle from 1999 to 2007. She reveals that she was renamed Bala and that Moksha was actually Meredith, China was Michelle, and Rajanee was Renee. However, names are not the only thing Antle controlled about his “girls”. He also decided what they would wear, which was mostly provocative in order to lure more people in.
Fisher further reveals that she was given breast implants, something that she never decided herself. She also stated that in T.I.G.E.R.S., Antle chose young and often virgin girls his apprentices, and how they were expected and willing to sleep with him. She described Antle having sex with these young women as “shaktipat (divine touch) with penis”, and spoke of how these women formed a deep bond with him as he was their first sexual partner. However, Doc Antle was not pleased with his portrayal in ‘Tiger King’ and while talking to Oxygen.com, he stated:
“When I say ‘my girl,’ it’s a cowboy saying, it’s not that these are my wives…Sure I’ve had girlfriends and there’s girls I have had relationships with that have come and gone over the decades…I am absolutely not married nor have I been since my wife died over 20 years ago now.”
While talking about Barbara Fisher, Antle even went on to say that she was not his apprentice but worked as a babysitter for his children.
However, this seems hard to believe given the photographs Fisher shows of herself from her time in T.I.G.E.R.S. Antle dismissed whatever Fisher said, expressing that her words are “the ramblings of a crazy child who has a lot of, in my opinion, issues and somehow those have boiled up”.
Antle also stated that the “cultiest” thing about his organization was his belief in yoga. This certainly adds a major twist to everything we already knew about the man from ‘Tiger King’. But it goes without saying that Antle’s words should be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, it wasn’t just Fisher, but several others who poured out truths about Antle’s “complex” personal life.
Read More: Where is Doc Antle Now?