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David Thibodeau on Waco on Netflix: Who was he in real life?

Rory Culkin as David Thibodeau in Waco
Rory Culkin as David Thibodeau on Waco. Pic credit: Paramount Network

The Paramount Network series Waco just premiered on Netflix and has already claimed its spot in the top 10, most-streamed shows on the platform. Just like Yellowstone and 68 Whiskey, this series seems to be another hit for Paramount, with Netflix giving it a push.

The series stars Taylor Kitsch as the religious cult leader David Koresh, who was a part of the tragic standoff in 1993 that took place at Mount Carmel. Much is still debated on who is to blame for the loss of life during the shootout and the series aptly depicts the horrendous nature of the event.

One such real-life survivor of Waco has been the talk of the internet since the series hit the streaming service and that is drummer David Thibodeau. In the series, Thibodeau is played by Rory Culkin, who becomes entangled with Koresh after meeting at a bar and connecting through music.

But who is David Thibodeau and what happened to him? Here is everything to know about the survivor of the 1993 Waco shootout.

David Thibodeau on Waco on Netflix: Who was he in real life?

David Thibodeau is in the unique position of telling people what really happened at the Branch Davidian compound in the 1990s because he was one of the living survivors of the incident.

Thibodeau told The Dallas Observer that sometimes it doesn’t feel like he actually experienced the tragic event, even though he knows he did.

Thibodeau explained that the show got very few details wrong, even though when it happened the media itself got several details wrong, including that people believed David Koresh was a deity.

The interesting thing Thibodeau acknowledged is that living by the Bible as a literal word for word interpretation can be dangerous and that was the worst part of following Koresh’s teachings. Thibodeau still goes back to Waco to remember everything that he lived through.

Time Magazine explained that the show even reunited Thibodeau with the FBI agent who also lived through the standoff with David Koresh, Gary Noesner. All these years later, both Thibodeau and Noesner are no longer enemies, they are on the same side as they attempt to tell the story of what happened all those years ago.

The show did a lot for both Thibodeau and Noesner, as, for the first time since the horrific event, they were able to consider all sides of the situation that marked both of them for life all those years ago.

They wanted to consider how to prevent the events of Waco from happening again, and both were willing to acknowledge the other may have seen things differently. For now, they are willing to sort through all the events and emotions of that day together.

More about David Thibodeau from Waco on Netflix

So where is Thibodeau now and how is he coping? Much like on the show, he is still using music to cope with life, even though now, according to Time, he lives in Maine. Helping make sure the production came together to tell the true story was a very “somber” experience for Thibodeau.

The Waco Tribune reported, while at a gathering of people who lived through the Branch Davidian cult, that the main reason Thibodeau is satisfied with the story the new show told is because of the following:

“I never thought anyone would ever be able to tell this story, and if they did, it was always going to be skewed or manipulated. So that always bothered me about a visual other than having a book … I think that they did a very good job with the Paramount Network.”

Even Thibodeau agreed that the story needed to be honored – and the network did a worthy job.

The one thing Thibodeau still wants, all these years later, is an admission of wrongdoing from the federal government. He lost friends and family members in the midst of the fire that would bring an end to the Branch Davidian cult, and even decades later, feels that the government agencies in charge of the takedown could have handled things differently.

As stated, Thibodeau lives in Maine and is still using music to cope with everything that happened. And just like the show details, he is probably playing that music louder than ever because of what he endured.

Waco is now streaming on Netflix.


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