Saff from "Tiger King" uses he/him pronouns
photo: Netflix

By now you've surely binge-watched all seven episodes of the wildly outrageous documentary Tiger King, and have your own theories about the crooks and criminals of the show. 

What is undisputed is that there are very few characters who were in the zoos for the right reasons. But one of those people was Saff, a zookeeper who had his arm ripped off by a tiger at Joe Exotic's Oklahoma zoo. Sadly, Saff was misgendered throughout the Netflix docuseries. 

With so many fans, this series is making waves on social media, so it's time we all start referring to Saff as his true identity.

Robert Moor was not a part of the documentary, but created his own podcast and story about the zoo and Joe Exotic.

Moor shared some trivia and information about Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, and the rest of the exotic cat owners in the documentary. He had plenty of wild secrets to spill, but also shared some knowledge about Saff that all fans of the show should know.

Moor shared that Saff uses he/him pronouns.

It's unclear whether Saffery disclosed to the documentary producers at Netflix that he wanted to be referred to as he/him. Moor, however, shared that Saff "repeatedly" told him that he was trans. Moor wrote, "Not really 'trivia,' but a useful piece of info for anyone discussing the show: 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."

Saffery was interviewed by Out magazine, and he further explained his story.

Saffery further proved that he was one of the most unproblematic people in the documentary in his interview with Out. He explained that his involvement came directly from love of the animals. Saffery never anticipated the level of fame he would acquire throughout this documentary. 

"This was my life for almost 10 years. I completely was consumed by it. I lived day in and day out caring for these animals, blood, sweat, tears and a left hand. You know, I sacrificed for that cause and for the animals, so I think that's the thing that I take away from it the most. If walking around Walmart and getting recognized means that more people are involved in the world that I invested so much of myself into then I can smile at the end of the day, that's for sure," he said.

There were so few unproblematic characters in the documentary, they deserve to be heard just as much as the criminal ones.

Saff and John Reinke (another amputee, though totally unrelated to tigers) were two of the most unproblematic characters in the documentary. Josh Dial, Joe Exotic's campaign manager, and Eric Cowie, the head zookeeper at Exotic's zoo, were also the least criminal of the bunch. 

Saffery literally lost a limb through tiger-mauling and returned to work in five days to avoid bad publicity. Talk about loyalty.

Saffery identifies as he/him. Let's respect that moving forward. 


Saff was understanding about the misgendering in the series and pretty laid-back in his interview. "I think the reason that I stay pretty neutral on it all is I've never been one to tell people what to be or what to say or how to handle anything," Saff said. 

"It's a big community out there so I don't want to pick a side either way. If people are asking me what I prefer, it's very obvious what I prefer, and that's he. But I'm not going to tell anyone what they need to or should call me," he continued. 

Like many others in Exotic's tiger zoo, Saffery had a libertarian approach. "I think that everyone's entitled to their own opinion, and I'm obviously as easygoing in that department as I can get. I don't think that I personally get offended, I think others do. I think everyone should stand up for what they believe in. I just — it's literally one of the last things that I really considered worrying about," he concluded.

Fans are sticking up for him on social media.


"Saff is a king and I respect him so much, not only for his work and his dedication after loosing his arm but for how he dealt with being misgendered through the filming of tiger king. He deserves so much more respect. Know his name, know his pronouns and respect them," they wrote.

The series should have done better, but now it's up to everyone else to respect Saff and his identity. 


Another person tweeted, "Didn’t know Saff identifies as a trans man? Maybe that’s because they used she/her pronouns throughout #TigerKing. You are invalidating a person’s identity when you misgender them. Do better @netflix." 

Someone else replied, "That blows. He was literally the best person they showed on screen. He deserved a lot better."