“Tiger King” has everyone talking, including star Joe Exotic.
The former zookeeper, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, spoke out from behind bars, where he is serving 22 years in prison for several charges, including hiring a hitman to kill his nemesis, Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin.
In a video posted by Netflix, Joe talked about his skyrocketing fame, saying, “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.”
He also praised his fourth husband, Dillon, whom he married eight months before his arrest. Joe said, “I can’t thank my husband enough for standing beside me.”
How does he feel about Carole? “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.”
Joe’s also had a change of heart about keeping animals in cages, saying, “Go sit in a cage with your animals for a week.”
In the series, Joe talks about his chimpanzees, who lived next to each other in cages for years. After he dropped them off at a sanctuary, the first thing they did was hug.
During the prison phone call, he referenced the scene, saying, “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 — I’m ashamed of myself.”
Some things, however, never change. “Am I going to be as crazy as I was before? That will never change,” he said.
This week, “Extra’s” Billy Bush sat down with journalist and TV producer Rick Kirkham, who shed some light on what life with Joe Exotic was really like.
Fans will recall, Rick spent five years filming a reality TV show with Joe, and the footage famously burned in a studio fire on the zoo grounds.