Tiger King's Joe Exotic files discrimination lawsuit

Joe Exotic is gay and polyamorous and he has alleged he was targeted by the authorities “because [he] is an openly gay male".

Joe Exotic with one of his tigers

Warning: Tiger King spoilers below!

Joe Exotic, the subject of the hit Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has filed a $94M lawsuit alleging anti-gay discrimination.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year sentence for hiring someone to kill his arch-rival, animal sanctuary owner Carole Baskin. He was convicted in 2019 for paying a hitman $3,000 to murder Baskin, with whom he had a years-long feud. Baskin was a vocal critic of Maldonado-Passage’s animal park.

Exotic was also convicted of killing adult tigers, having shot and killed five tigers, sold baby lemurs and falsified paperwork to say they were donated. He was sentenced on Wednesday. “The self-described Tiger King was not above the law,” First Assistant US Attorney Robert J. Troester said.

Joe Exotic is gay and polyamorous and has alleged he was targeted by authorities “because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.”

His lawsuit seeks $15 million for false imprisonment and selective enforcement. He also seeks $75 million for loss of property and research and restitution costs for the boarding of his big cats while he has been imprisoned.

According to his fourth husband Dillon Passage, Exotic is in isolation as a coronavirus precaution after being moved to a new prison facility. He is currently serving his sentence in a Texas prison.

Speaking on Andy Cohen‘s radio show, Passage said: “We speak three to five times every day. But since he’s been moved to this new facility, they are putting him on COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at… there were cases. I have yet to speak to him since he’s been moved.”

Exotic’s love life features heavily in the Netflix documentary. Passage and Joe got married two months after Exotic’s former husband Travis Maldonado accidentally shot himself dead.

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