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A new podcast has revealed just how wild the aftermath of the Siegfried and Roy tiger mauling really was.
Roy Horn, one of the two halves of the flashy stage duo known for their Las Vegas acts with white Bengal tigers, was badly mauled during a now-notorious 2003 performance. As a result, he became partially paralyzed and he and his partner Siegfried Fischbache’s show shut down permanently.
While the pair claimed that Horn suffered a stroke while on stage, thus triggering 400-pound Mantacore to grab him with concern, the new podcast Apple TV+ podcast “Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy," premiering on Jan. 12, dives into more sinister theories.
“There were theories that it was not an accident and that somebody triggered the tiger,” executive producers Steven Leckart, who also serves as the podcast's host, recently told the New York Post .
The podcast explores some of the wildest theories behind the attempted murder speculation, from spiteful animal activists seeking revenge to homophobia. Then, there was also a theory that an audience member snuck in a tiger-distracting scene, such as animal urine, in her hair with the intention of triggering an attack.
“Motives that were explored seemed bananas — and they are,” Leckart told the Post.
He noted that investigators chased down every tip and theory, no matter how bonkers.
“Did someone in the audience do something to cause the animal to react the way it did and can we prove it?” Michael Game, former Sergeant of Counter Terrorism for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, states in the podcast. “That was the bottom line, plain and simple. That was how we approached the investigation.”
Meanwhile, Chris Lawrence, an animal trainer who worked with the duo for years, alleged that Horn was to blame for the attack. He told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 that Horn had not been spending enough time with the cats at that point in his career and that he “was treating the cats more like props than he was respecting them for who they were.”
Lawrence claimed that Horn merely pretended that the tiger was trying to help him during a stroke to avoid tarnishing the duo's reputation. In 2020, it was reported that Lawrence was working with "Tiger King" filmmakers for an episode on the mauling but it's unclear if that will ever come to fruition.
What truly happened may never be known. The U.S. Department of Agriculture closed the case in 2005 without deciding on any definitive conclusion as to what caused the mauling. Fischbacher died last year from pancreatic cancer while Horn died in 2020 of COVID-19 complications. Mantacore died in 2014.
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