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"It's now time to turn the tables and Joe get out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges," the famed prisoner said

By Ashley Boucher
April 03, 2020 07:48 PM
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Tiger King‘s Joseph Maldonado-Passage — better known as “Joe Exotic” — is letting the cat out of the bag from behind bars at the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma.

Maldonado-Passage told Netflix in a jailhouse interview on March 22 that he is moving on from his self-declared war with activist Carole Baskin.

“I’m done with the Carole Baskin saga,” Maldonado-Passage said. The star of Tiger King is in jail after being found guilty in 2019 for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Baskin, his rival and founder of the Big Cat Rescue.

“It’s now time to turn the tables and Joe get out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges,” Maldonado-Passage said.

He is currently serving a 22-year sentence and recently filed a lawsuit against various government agencies, as well as a former business partner, seeking $94 million in damages.

The eccentric subject of Tiger King would also like to leave jail so he can watch the documentary he stars in and also enjoy his fame.

“You know, it’d be nice if I could actually see me being famous out there, but I’ve seen these same four walls for a year and a half now,” he said in the interview with Netflix.

“When I walk out of here, am I going to be as crazy as I was before?” he said. “That will never change.”

joe exotic
Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage
| Credit: Netflix

Maldonado-Passage’s husband, Dillion Passage, shared with Andy Cohen that the zookeeper hasn’t been able to watch Tiger King, but he’s “ecstatic” from all the attention.

“It was a lot of good feedback, and he likes attention, obviously. He calls himself ‘Joe Exotic the Tiger King,’” Passage told Cohen, adding that Maldonado-Passage is “100 percent” enjoying the spotlight.

Maldonado-Passage said in the Netflix interview that he’s grateful for Passage’s continual support.

“As short a time as I was married to Dillon, and still married to Dillon, you know 8 months before I got arrested for all this. It’s been a year and a half of sleeping in a car and going from couch to couch and house to house. I can’t thank my husband enough for standing beside me,” he said.

Joe Exotic
Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage

His time behind bars has also changed his perspective on being a zookeeper.

Maldonado-Passage said he’s “ashamed” of the conditions in which he kept his many animals at the G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

Tiger King
Carole Baskin
| Credit: Netflix

“Go sit in a cage with your animals for a week,” Maldonado-Passage said when asked what he’d like fans of the docu-series to know. “I mean, when I left the zoo and I sent my chimpanzees to the sanctuary in Florida and imagined what my chimpanzees went through for 18 years, I’m ashamed of myself.”

In Tiger King, the former zookeeper expressed dismay when he saw his chimpanzees’ quality of life noticeably increase at the sanctuary, where they were let into larger spaces with other chimps.

Tiger King is now streaming on Netflix.