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Tiger King’s Joe Exotic Says He’s ‘Ashamed’ Of Keeping Wild Animals In Cages

Lucy Connolly



The eccentric star of Netflix’s Tiger King, Joe Exotic, has admitted he’s ‘ashamed’ of himself for keeping wild animals locked in cages for years.

Exotic, real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for plotting to murder animal rights activist Carole Baskin – his rival – among other animal abuse charges.


Speaking from prison, Joe Exotic – who has always defended his right to keep wild animals locked up – has said his experience of being behind bars has changed his outlook.

Joe Exotic Tiger KingNetflix

In a new interview with Netflix, Exotic can be seen talking into a prison phone, speaking about his past life and his experiences since the release of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Although he was asked how he feels about the popularity of the show and his rivalry with Carole – more on that later, I promise – the main takeaway from the interview was his feelings of regret regarding his old life.


In the video, which was shared on Netflix’s official Twitter account, Exotic said:

Go sit in a cage with your animals for a week. I mean, when I left the zoo and sent my chimpanzees to the sanctuary in Florida and imagined what my chimpanzees went through for 18 years, I’m ashamed of myself.

joe exotic ashamedNetflix/Twitter

Later on in the interview, Exotic vowed to draw a line under his rivalry with Carole and wants to clear his name, stating: ‘I’m done with the Carole Baskin saga. It’s now time to turn the tables and Joe get out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges.’


He also expressed his regret that he wasn’t able to see for himself how popular the docuseries is, adding: ‘You know it would 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.’

The zoo owner cleared up any doubts viewers might have as to whether he’s still with his fourth husband Dillon too, saying he ‘can’t thank [his] husband enough for standing beside [him]’ throughout all of this.

joe exotic and husband dillonNetflix

If you somehow haven’t managed to watch Tiger King yet, the seven-part Netflix documentary follows Exotic as the owner of GW Exotic Animal Park, a 16-acre ranch in Oklahoma where he kept more than 1,200 animals.


While the show might seem like a simple animal documentary at first glance, with Exotic’s zoo home to an array of wild cats and bears, it soon turns into a ‘true murder-for-hire story’ when the zoo owner is arrested for plotting to murder Carole.

Joe is currently serving a 22-year sentence, but maintains his innocence.

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Topics: Animals, Animal Cruelty, docuseries, Film and TV, Joe Exotic, Netflix, Tiger King, tigers, TV


  1. Netflix/Twitter


Lucy Connolly
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