Tiger King: Who is the Tiger King and what did he do? Where is Joe Exotic now?March 31, 2020
All seven episodes of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness are streaming on Netflix. The series tells the story of a group of large cat owners, breeders and dealers in the US, with the focus of the documentary being on Joe Exotic and his zoo. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know about the show.
Who is the Tiger King and what did he do?
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, gave himself the title of Tiger King.
Joe, from Garden City, Kansas, is a former zoo operator, breeder and dealer of big cats.
Viewers even catch a glimpse of Exotic’s music career, with country songs titled I Saw a Tiger and Here Kitty Kitty.
He founded G.W Zoo (Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park, named after his late brother, Garold) in 1999.
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For over 20 years, he was the owner and operator of the zoo, before it fell into the hands of Jeff Lowe, in 2016.
During his time as the owner, he allowed visitors to pet the cubs and even took his animals on the roads to fairs and shopping malls.
At one stage, he even ran for president and governor of Oklahoma as a libertarian.
When viewers meet him, he is sporting a blonde mullet, the colourful wardrobe has had multiple husbands and an on-going feud with Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue, a cat sanctuary.
Joe is openly gay and has had five husbands throughout his lifetime.
His first marriage was to Brian Rhyne, who died of complications from HIV in 2001.
He then married JC Hartpence but heir relationship was short-lived.
In 2014, Joe married John Finlay and Travis Maldonado in a three-way ceremony which is seen in the documentary.
However, John left his marriage after he got a female staff member at the zoo pregnant.
Travis and Joe continued their relationship but sadly, Travis died in October 2017 after he accidentally shot himself.
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Two months later, Joe married Dillon Passage, who he met on Craigs List and the pair are still together today.
Dillon told filmmakers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin: “His energy is just so strong, and when he proposed to me it was just something I couldn’t think about.”
A producer, Rick Kirkham agreed to shoot Joe’s own internet series in exchange for creating a reality TV show to capture the Tiger King in his prime.
However, from then on, things take an unusual turn in the documentary and Exotic’s life.
Joe believed Carole was out to close down his zoo, take his cats and everything away from him and he made very clear he was not going down without a fight.
He claimed his rival, Carole Baskin killed her husband, Don Lewis and made several internet videos on his YouTube account threatening her life.
His feud with Carole, a big cat conservationist escalated and in 2018, he was indicted for attempting to hire someone to murder her.
After receiving information about the plot from informants who knew Joe, an FBI agent posing as a hitman, who Joe reached out to hire.
He was convicted on April 2, 2019, on two counts of murder for hire, eight violations of the Lacey Act (which covers conversation laws) and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act.
- Tiger King: What happened to Carole Baskin?
Where is Joe Exotic now?
Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2020 for his murder-for-hire plot against his chief rival, Carole Baskin.
He was also convicted of 17 charges relating to animal cruelty.
Exotic began serving his sentence at a jail in an Oklahoma federal prison but as of March 2020, he is incarcerated at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Fort Worth in Texas.
Today, Lowe still owns and runs GW Zoo and has changed the name to Greater Wynnewood Animal Park.
As seen in the Netflix documentary, Lowe is and his wife Lauren Lowe are still planning to open the Oklahoma Zoo in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
They plan to merge their Greater Wynnewood Animal Park with the new Oklahoma Zoo, in a bid to move away from Joe Exotic’s mark.
Furthermore, it was reported today on Thursday, March 26 that Exotic- is suing the US Federal Wildlife Service and the US Department of Interior, for $78.84million (£66m).
He is also suing Jeff Lowe, his former business partner and another colleague, for $15million (£12m).
According to a post on his official Facebook page, he is also seeking a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.
Tiger King is streaming on Netflix now
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