After going to prison in April 2019 on charges relating to a murder-for-hire plot and wildlife violations, the Tiger King, Joe Exotic, has shared a rare picture of himself from behind bars.
Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was found guilty of 17 charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder-for-hire against big-cat rights activist Carole Baskin. He was subsequently sentenced to 22 years in prison.
During his time in prison, Exotic has launched a $94 million lawsuit claiming that, alongside the death of his mother, a huge conspiracy led him to be locked up. He tried to sue the US Department of Interior and the US Federal Wildlife service for deliberately trying to put him out of business by adding the ‘generic tiger’ onto the endangered species list.
However, Exotic also admitted, during part of his time behind bars, that he was ‘ashamed’ of how he kept wild animals locked up in cages for so many years, speaking of how his own entrapment had subsequently changed his outlook.
Following the death of other Tiger King zookeeper, Erik Cowie, at only 53-years-old – which Exotic said he was ‘not one bit shocked’ by – Exotic has since taken to Instagram to share a rare look at his life inside.
The picture captioned, ‘Regal, me and Geovanti. My Mexican family’, shows Joe sitting between two other men, who are also inmates at the FMC Fort Worth prison.
According to Exotic’s replies to fans, the men are both in prison for conspiracy, specifically, ‘talking on a cell phone about drugs’, according to Exotic. ‘Didn’t even have drugs. The government is listening to everyone,’ Exotic claimed.
The post has thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, with fans showing their support for the zookeeper. One said: ‘Free Joe the tiger king.’
Glad you got friends in there joe! Much love as always! Gonna drop ya a letter and $20 this week. Buy your buddies a snack!
A third commented: ‘You look good Joe… stay strong.’
Exotic has since used his platform on Instagram to share the ‘truth about the big cat safety act’ and to encourage followers to watch episode five of The Judge and the Journalist: Breaking Down Joe Exotic’s Trial.
Exotic labelled it ‘all corrupt’, but went on to say that when he gets to ‘tell what really goes on in here’, followers will ‘want to change it all’.
In his most recent post, the Tiger King promised fans he will ‘return to an even bigger stage one day’.
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