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Saff Saffery

'Tiger King' Misgendered Staff Member

Tiger Kings | Netflix
By Ivy Pope

Tiger King, a docuseries on Netflix that looks at owners of big cats in America, where about five thousand to ten thousand of the animals live in captivity, and only one thousand live wild. The docuseries is taking the world by storm.

The main subjects of the series is Joe Exotic, owner of G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma and Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

Each of them thinks they're right; but the audience only receives reason from one person, named Saff Saffery. However, the audience had no idea that Saff Saffery was being misgendered.

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On March 23, the man behind the series, Robert Moore, tweeted about "Saff" Saffery. He said that their pronouns were not respected, nor was their chosen name.

“Saff, the person who got mauled by the tiger, told me repeatedly that he is trans, prefers to be called Saff (not “Kelci”), and uses he/him pronouns. So please do likewise."

This tweet was part of a series of tweets with tidbits that did not get covered in the series. We even learn that Moore worked on a podcast about Joe Exotic for four years, and went on to be featured in New York Magazine.

Gettyimages | Lakes4life

Paper Magazine also reported that the series continually misgendered Saff, even going so far as to use the name Kelci. The series never tried to identify Saff correctly with his chosen pronouns and name.

Moore notes that a lot of news broadcasts were old, and that may be part of the problem, the documentary came out in 2020. Surely they knew Saff's preferences.

Whatever the case, let's talk about where Saff is now, after Tiger King, after leaving the zoo injured.

Netflix | Tiger King

Saffery was a G.W. Exotic Animal Park worker who had his arm torn off by a tiger. All he was doing was giving the animal its food in the morning, and had grown too calm and easygoing with being in the pen. He did not take proper precautions, and the tiger bit further than just his hand, all the way up his arm, trying to take food.

Throughout the docuseries, Saffery insisted that it was not the tiger's fault. He was to blame, according to him. Saff did not want the tiger demonized, so he amputated his arm, rather than get a two-year-long constructive surgery. He was back at work a week later.

Netflix | Tiger King

Saff had extreme loyalty to his job, and he loved what he did. He also spoke from a place of logic, and was overall the voice of reason. Saff was a favorite of the series, and despite shady stuff going on throughout the series that the zoo staff did not know about, or may have known about, that's pretty hard to say, he still managed to stay a favorite.

One Reddit user wrote: “A shame the documentary didn’t make it clear. I love him. He, Reinke (legless guy) and Cowie (the long-haired sunglasses guy) are pretty much the only sane and kind people on this show who genuinely care about animals.”

And to be honest, that's how we feel.

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