"We had no idea the depth of the manipulation and how terrible of a situation this place was," Naomie Olindo wrote on Instagram

By Robyn Merrett
April 02, 2020 10:17 PM
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Southern Charm star Naomie Olindo says she’s “so embarrassed” after a photo resurfaced, showing her at Bhagavan “Doc” Antle’s zoo following the release of the explosive Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

In the photo, shared by Instagram account Brands by Bravo and since re-shared by Comments by Bravo, Olindo, 27, is seen posing on top of an elephant’s head as her Southern Charm costar Craig Conover looks up at her from the water.

“Omg gross I can’t believe @naomie_olindo f—— supports Doc Antle and his CULT! @BravoTV time to find new people on @BravoSouthernCharm cause this is going to cause major backlash,” one fan of the show commented on the post.

In addition to following now-imprisoned Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, viewers of the docuseries also met Antle, who runs The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, T.I.G.E.R.S., in South Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Antle has been called out by Carole Baskin and PETA for exploiting animals. Baskin also claims in the docuseries that Antle is the most notorious big cat cub breeder.

Antle has also made headlines over claims of having multiple wives, something he has denied.

Antle also denied allegations that he and other big cat zookeepers euthanize their animals, calling those claims “outrageous TV” in a video interview with TMX.news.

Instagram

In response to the fan’s comment, Olindo issued an apology and explained she had no idea of the “manipulation and how terrible of a situation this place was.”

“Ugh we are SO embarrassed, believe me,” Olindo began. “We had no idea the depth of the manipulation and how terrible of a situation this place was,” Olindo said of Antle’s facility.

“We also made a mistake in that we didn’t do our research before going, and have huge regrets. I love animals and didn’t realize I was doing more harm than good by supporting this place. Really heartbreaking and I feel pretty stupid tbh. Also just a side note the picture with Metul is at myrtle beach safari, the photo with Craig is in Thailand lol two different places. Either way elephants should never be ridden — something I did not know before. Live and learn,” Olindo concluded, adding a crying face emoji.

Olindo isn’t the only celebrity to be connected to Antle.

Antle was the animal handler during Britney Spears‘ performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” at the 2001 VMAs.

Spears, 38, opened the song inside a cage with Antle and the liger (a hybrid of a tiger mother and lion father), then stormed the stage to dance with a live python.

In response to the increase of attention Antle has received, the animal handler released a statement about the docuseries on Facebook, explaining, “We are very disappointed that our facility was mentioned in the new Netflix series. We can only assume it is because Doc Antle has been such a high profile wildlife personality.”

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle

He also denied being a polygamist to Oxygen.com.

“Sure I’ve had girlfriends and there’s girls I have had relationships with that have come and gone over the decades,” he said. “I am absolutely not married nor have I been since my wife died over 20 years ago now. I’m not married, and I certainly don’t have wives. I certainly am a single guy, and I live in a house by myself.”

In Tiger King, an ex-employee named Barbara Fisher alleged that Antle ran his business like a cult, expecting sexual favors from the under-paid, over-worked, mostly female staff and forcing her to get breast augmentation. Antle denied this to Oxygen.com, saying, “The cultiest [sic] thing about us is that I totally believe that yoga has helped me stay limber and strong and made my life a better thing.”

He added of Fisher: “This is the ramblings of a crazy child who has a lot of, in my opinion, issues and somehow those have boiled up.”