“Tiger King” pop culture phenom Joseph Maldonado-Passage a.k.a Joe Exotic has released a tell-all memoir. Filled with details about his upbringing, shocking claims about the familiar faces of Netflix’s “Tiger King” series and wild details about raising animals, Exotic wrote his book while serving out a prison sentence in a murder-for-hire plot against his rival, Carole Baskin.
Here are 10 things we learned from his Tiger King memoir, available in bookstores now.
He Hasn’t Seen “Tiger King”
The world may have fallen into the “Tiger King” trap in March 2020, but Exotic says he still hasn’t seen the series. Not having access to Netflix in the Fort Worth prison where he was residing for most of the year (he’s since been transferred to an inmate medical facility following his cancer diagnosis), Exotic says arriving inmates to the prison were well aware of his celeb status. He’s also been informed of the claims his former friends and staffers have made against him in season one of the series including Jeff and Lauren Lowe, the late Erik Cowie, Saff Safferty, and of course, Carole Baskin.
Joe Exotic Vs. Jeff And Lauren Lowe
Exotic may very publicly be at odds with Baskin, but his true hatred is reserved for Jeff and Lauren Lowe. Jeff Lowe was introduced in season one of e the series as a swinger and benefactor who swooped in to help Exotic finance his Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Park. But Exotic alleges Lowe was a conman who swindled him out of his park and earnings, calling him “an incredibly lazy man” and writing “making money using other people is what he specialized in.” Exotic also writes that it was Lowe who helped orchestrate the murder-for-hire plot against Baskin and what ultimately landed Exotic in jail.
Since “Tiger King” debuted, the Lowes have had their run-ins with the law. After being accused of inhumane treatment of big cats, the couple had 60 big cats seized in a raid in 2021, and were later arrested over DUI charges.
Logan Paul Bought A Tiger Cub From Jeff Lowe
YouTuber Logan Paul is no stranger to controversy. In his book, Exotic claims Lowe sold him a tiger cub. Exotic says Lowe shared a video Paul posted of the terrified tiger cub being harassed by a yapping dog. Eventually, Paul got busted for having it as a pet but claimed he bought the cub “at a flea market” before allegedly sticking one of his employees with the $60,000 fine and three years of probation. Exotic writes the tiger cub ended up at a teaching zoo in California after it was taken away.
He’s Had A Number Of Jobs
After spending his early years growing up on a farm and spending his time in the mountains on cattle drives, Exotic got a job as a volunteer firefighter at age 14. Getting his emergency first aid license, Exotic worked on his town’s only ambulance, eventually learning how to drive a fire truck. He fought his first forest fire at age 14, writing that the “old firemen treated me no different than if I have been 40 instead of 14.” He adds that his experience taught him how to treat others with respect.
Exotic later went to college to become an EMT, eventually running his own ambulance fleet. Eventually, he attended the police academy and graduated as the “youngest police chief in the history of the state of Texas.” He also had a job “running skunks out of town” which involved literally picking up and relocating skunks.
His First Husband Gave Him His Signature Look
Working security at a country and western bar is where Exotic met his first husband, Brian Rhyne. Rhyne, who was studying to become a hairstylist, is the one who gave Exotic his signature mullet in the 1980s. It was “the envy of all who saw it,” he writes. Though Rhyne was never mentioned in the series, he and Exotic were married until Rhyne’s death from HIV/AIDS in 2002.
He’s Owned More Than 100 Types Of Animals
Exotic has always been an animal lover. Growing up on a farm with animals, Exotic first opened his exotic animal park to take care of animals owned by his late brother, Garold Wayne, after his untimely passing. Since childhood, Exotic has owned more than 100 types of animal species including a variety of big cats and hybrid cats, aardvarks, opossums, wolves, zebras, pigs, jackals, foxes, ferrets, black bears, buffalo and various primates.
The Most Difficult Animal To Care For Is A Beaver
Of all the animals he has owned, Exotic says Canadian beavers are the “hardest” to learn to care for. Exotic built a habitat for the animals which featured a large indoor pool area with willow trees and a wooden house. Overnight, the beavers ate their new home and landscaping, with Exotic writing, “somethings you learn the hard way.”
He Has High Praise For Doc Antle
Of all the people in “Tiger King”, one of the few that Exotic has kind words for is his “good friend” Doc Antle. Exotic claims that he has “the connection with animals that few of us do”, praising his zoo and treatment of animals. But, despite Exotic’s claims in his memoir, Antle was under investigation for the illegal sale of big cats following the release of “Tiger King”. After long being suspected of animal cruelty, he was indicted along with his two daughters for wildlife trafficking, misdemeanour animal cruelty, and violations of the Endangered Species Act.
Dinner With A Monkey Changed His Views On Exotic Pet Ownership
Exotic had been against private exotic pet animal ownership until one fateful dinner with a monkey. After seeing a macaque sit at a hotel dining room table with glassware and dishes, not eating until its owner instructed it to do so, he writes “it ate with a fork and spoon, better than a young child, and drank out of a glass.” Witnessing this monkey at dinner led Exotic to have more of an open mind about private ownership because “these private owners treated their animals better than most people treat their own kids.”
‘Tiger King’ Ruined His Life
In the opening passage of his book, Exotic says “Tiger King” has made his life worse in jail. He claims prison staff tired of sorting his fan mail and to keep him from speaking to the media about prison conditions (which he alleges are worse than the standard requirements for caring for monkeys) he was frequently put in isolation. “I almost would rather not be associated with ‘Tiger King’,” he writes.
Tiger King: The Official Tell-All Memoir by Joe Exotic is available in bookstores now.