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Where is Joe Exotic now? Exotic runs for president and taunts Trump from prison

Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ fascinated audiences in early 2020. Now over 2 years later, here’s the latest on Joe Exotic

Jun 9, 2023, 12:34pm CDT

Netflix’s “Tiger King,” released March 20, 2020, was an instant hit. The docuseries outlined the twists and turns of the big cat rescue community, with one fascinating figure at the center — Joe Exotic, the tiger king himself.

Who is the ‘Tiger King’?

Joe Exotic, 59, is the subject of Netflix’s wildly popular docuseries “Tiger King.” Released at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Tiger King” was immediately a hit. Why? Viewers were fascinated with Joe Exotic’s colorful personality and wardrobe, as well as his obsession with Carole Baskins.

Joe Exotic — real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage — owned and operated a zoo named the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park for 20 years. Born in Garden City, Kansas, Joe Exotic picked up fame when he and his animals toured the country, according to Newsweek.

It was also during this time that Joe Exotic made an enemy of Baskins, owner of Big Cat Rescue in Florida. Per Newsweek, Joe Exotic harassed Baskins for years: he threatened her on his web show, filled her mailbox with poisonous snakes and wrote a country song claiming Baskins killed her first husband and fed him to her tigers.

The tension between Joe Exotic and Baskins hit a breaking point when he attempted to pay a man $3,000 to kill Baskins. This plot backfired when it was revealed that the man Joe Exotic tried to pay was actually an undercover FBI agent.

Joe Exotic was arrested for his murder-for-hire plot in 2018.

Where is Joe Exotic now?

Joe Exotic is currently serving his sentence in prison.

In January 2020, Joe Exotic was originally sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for attempting to hire two men to murder Baskins, as the Deseret News reported.

But in January 2022, a federal judge shaved off one year of Joe Exotic’s original sentence, as the Deseret News reported. Now Joe Exotic is serving 21 years in federal prison.

And what about his love life? The tiger king is no longer with his fifth husband. According to People, Joe Exotic and Dillon Passage split in 2021. Passage filed for divorce in 2022. The two were together for four years.

What has Joe Exotic been up to?

According to earlier reporting by Deseret News, Joe Exotic announced his 2024 presidential bid earlier this year. He filed as a libertarian and, according to his campaign website, his platforms include “Live how you want,” “Free America from the controlling left and right” and more.

According to Insider, Libertarian Party chair Angela McArdle “slammed” Joe Exotic’s campaign. “We stand for personal and economic freedom, we are not a landing pad for former reality stars and D-list celebrities,” McArdle said in an interview with TMZ.

More recently, Joe Exotic taunted former President Donald Trump on Twitter, in light of the news that Mark Meadows testified to a grand jury “investigating both Trump’s attempts to stay in office despite losing the 2020 election and his classified documents scandal,” per HuffPost.

Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff, likely stopped Trump from pardoning Joe Exotic, according to a book published last year.

“Yeah, that doesn’t sound like something we ought to be involved in,” Meadows is quoted as saying in “Vignettes & Vino: Dinner Table Stories from the Trump White House with Recipes & Cocktail Pairings,” according to The Oklahoman. The book was written by Brian Morgenstern, former deputy press secretary, and Teresa Morgenstern, his wife.

It looks like Joe Exotic hasn’t forgotten the slight — in a recent tweet, Joe Exotic taunted Trump, saying, “I will save you a bunk and a bed roll"

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