Joe Exotic's actually way more disturbing than the 'Tiger King' documentary makes him out to be, at least according to the guy who lived at the zoo for a year and helped make Joe a star.
Producer Rick Kirkham joined us Wednesday on "TMZ Live" and said the wildly-popular Netflix series is frighteningly accurate -- but still only scratches the surface of Joe's crazy lifestyle.
Check out the video ... Rick recalled the time "a poor old woman drove in with a horse trailer" asking Joe to take over caring for the horse on the grounds of his zoo in Oklahoma. He claims Joe told her he'd offer the horse lots of green pasture -- but as soon as she left, he instead did something horrifying.
If you've seen the documentary, you'll recall Rick produced Joe's online reality series and even gave him the nickname Tiger King. He says Joe even wanted him to record the horse incident. As fans know, almost all of Rick's footage burned up in a mysterious fire at the zoo.
Rick also has some strong feelings about Carole Baskin ... and the allegations she was involved in her husband's unsolved murder.
Safe to say, after everything he saw firsthand, Rick's no fan of Joe or Carole.