Our collective bingo card started looking stranger by the hour on Thursday as Joe Exotic, the imprisoned subject of Netflix’s hit “Tiger King” docuseries, weighed in on the OceanGate submersible tragedy. In fact, he began sounding like a voice of reason while blasting Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw’s promotion of conspiracy theories surrounding the event.
Following OceanGate and the U.S. Coast Guard’s back-to-back statements Thursday saying they believed the Titanic tourist submersible’s deep sea implosion left its five occupants — OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood and Paul-Henri Nargeolet — dead, scrutiny surrounding the exploration company’s cost-cutting and certification-dodging practices ramped up. Some, meanwhile, raised concerns of the media frenzy surrounding the accident. Others, still, tapped into conspiracy theories around the Titan’s search and rescue, including Rep. Crenshaw.
The latter is what drew the ire of Exotic late Thursday.
“@DanCrenshawTX quit looking for someone to blame,” he wrote on Twitter. “They built it, got in it and took that risk, launched it and if it imploded no one could have done anything. Hats off to the @USCG and everyone who searched for it. Maybe God just don’t want us at the bottom of the ocean to screw with things.”
Exotic’s Crenshaw callout was in response to a number of tweets and appearances from the Texan politician on Tuesday and Wednesday in which he blamed President Joe Biden and the U.S. government at large for “unnecessarily delay[ing] the deployment of proper search and recovery equipment from reaching the Titanic.”
“I’m hearing disturbing reports that U.S. Coast Guard officials are blocking or delaying the Magellan from being deployed,” Crenshaw tweeted Tuesday of a potential rescue submersible, later adding that “our government is failing massively… Mr. President, you can solve this problem right now and save lives.”
Crenshaw posted on Wednesday, “I also hear that, contrary to USCG reports, the sub’s location is actually not a mystery and a small search area is being refined.”
By the U.S. Coast Guard and OceanGates own determination Thursday — and following a days-long, robust search of an area in the North Atlantic equating the size of Connecticut — many reports indicate that the Titanic submersible likely imploded shortly after losing communication with the surface on Sunday. The Navy even reportedly detected an explosive sound upon that loss of contact.