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

by : Lucy Connolly on : 04 Apr 2020 11:28


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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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

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


  1. Netflix/Twitter