Joe Exotic Biography
Joe Exotic whose birth name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage is a controversial former Oklahoma Wildlife Park Owner and big cat dealer who is serving a 22-year prison sentence for trying to hire two different people to kill Carole Baskin and for more than a dozen wildlife violations, including the killing of five tigers.
Joe Exotic Family
Joe was born in rural Kansas, he is the son of farmers. In his youth, his family moved to Texas where Joe pursued a career in law enforcement and in 1993 he was named Sheriff of Eastvale, Texas.
He later moved to Florida, after attempting suicide by driving his police cruiser into a concrete barrier, and began working in a pet store. That is where he discovered his love for exotic animals.
Joe Exotic Husband – Wedding
Joe married his husband Travis Maldonado in 2014 in a zoo-themed ceremony. The couple had first met in December 2013 where Travis, who had struggled with meth addiction, arrived at Joe’s zoo. Joe’s employees suggested that he take him in thinking that working around animals would help him recover.
Joe Exotic Husband Death
In October 2017 Travis was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. According to witnesses, it is alleged that he took the magazine out of a gun and held the barrel to his head. He knew there was a bullet in the chamber, but he said it would not fire without the magazine. He then squeezed the trigger and the gun fired.
Joe Exotic Exotic Animal Memorial Park
In 1987 Joe opened the Exotic Animal Memorial Park, this was after his brother was hit by a drunk driver and died. His early exhibits were donations from people who no longer wanted to keep the animals as pets. He received his first two tigers in 2000 which he named Tess and Tickles and began to breed.
As his fame increased organizations and individuals spoke out against his business practices. The authorities investigated him after a video of employees striking a tiger with a rifle surfaced, no action was taken. By the mid-2000s the park held over a thousand animals. Visitors could buy Joe Exotic branded condoms and lotion in the gift shop.
Joe Exotic Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a wildlife sanctuary in Tampa, Florida that specializes in felines. In 2013 Joe Exotic lost a trademark lawsuit against Big Cat Rescue as the court ruled that he had used logos and images from that organization without their permission and awarded $1 million to the group.
Joe escalated his harassment for Carole as he had previously harassed her after she was quoted in an article decrying the conditions at his zoo, and he retaliated by using her logo to claim that they were sponsoring his traveling animal shows.
Joe had built a television studio at his zoo and had been regularly broadcasting episodes of Joe Exotic TV on a website On December 25, 2011 he left a comment beneath an article about the zoo by a local news station in Oklahoma.
“Dear Carole Baskin. You should watch my show this Tuesday as it is going to be about your back yard zoo, [and] why you have not found your husbands body . . . The next time you step foot in my business, you better run and hide real far and fast, and this is a promise to you for Christmas. You want to take this BS to the next level, lets play. See if your up to it . . . You don’t know just how crazy I can be.”
In 2012 he also said from his TV studio at the zoo. “For Carole and all of her friends that are watching out there, if you think for one minute I was nuts before, I am the most dangerous exotic animal owner on this planet right now and before you bring me down, it is my belief that you will stop breathing. Got that?”
In February 2014 during another episode Joe brought out a blow-up doll with a blond wig; You wanna know why Carole Baskin better never, ever, ever see me face-to-face ever, ever, ever again?” Joe asked, before suddenly raising a pistol to the doll’s head and pulling the trigger. There was a loud bang, and the doll keeled over. “That is how sick and tired of this shit I am. Have a great night, ladies and gentlemen, and I will see you tomorrow night.”
Joe Exotic Alleged Hired a Hit Man to Kill Carole Baskin
James Garretson, a former Dallas strip club owner, alleges that Joe asked him if he knew any hit men. He told him he wanted to have Baskin killed and said he could offer $10,000 for the job. Garretson dismissively told Joe that he’d look around, but he never did.
In February 2017 Ashley Webster, a new employee at the zoo, alleges that she walked up to say hello to Joe and Lowe and overheard them talking about Baskin. Joe turned to Webster and asked if she’d travel to Florida and put a bullet in Baskin’s head for a few thousand dollars.
Two weeks later Webster quit her job and left a voicemail for Baskin. “I just wanted to apologize to you because I have believed the bullshit that Joe Exotic has said. I am currently here at his place right now, and I’m leaving . . . He was actually talking about paying someone to kill you. He tried to get me to do it. I’m not going to fucking do that . . . He was offering, like, a couple of thousand dollars. I feel like your life is in danger.”
In 2019 during an interview with The Washington Post and in court testimony, Maldonado-Passage said he was never serious about killing the Florida sanctuary owner, Carole Baskin.
According to court documents, Carole urged the judge to hand down a long sentence. “If this vicious, obsessed man is ever released from jail, my life and my family’s lives will return to what it was like during the decade leading up to his arrest.”
Joe Exotic Charges
In April 2019 Joe was convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.
The prosecutor said that Maldonado-Passage shot and killed five tigers to make room for other big cats in the cages, as well as sold tiger cubs. He was also accused of falsifying records relating to lions, a baby lemur and tigers which had been purportedly transported or donated for exhibition, but had actually been sold.
Joe Exotic Sentence
In January 2020 Joe was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in various crimes of animal abuse and attempted murder for hire.
Joe Exotic For President
Joe was running for Presidency in 2016. In a video produced in 2015 he outlined his qualifications for the presidency as; “I am gay. I’ve had two boyfriends most of my life. I currently got legally married ― thank God it’s finally legal in America. I’ve had some kinky sex. I’ve tried drugs through the younger years of my life. I’m broke as sh*t.”
He also outlined his work as an animal wrangler noting that he’s “built one of the biggest facilities, and the nicest facilities, for exotic animals in this country, as far as a private individual goes.”
Joe Exotic Podcast
Joe Exotic Documentary
Joe will be featured in a Netflix documentary titled “Tiger King” and is the story of his life and crimes. It is set to come to Netflix on March 20th.