Joe Exotic, the bizarre focus of Netflix’s new documentary Tiger King, has reportedly filed a USD$94 million dollar lawsuit against the US Government and his former colleagues including Jeffrey Lowe.
The former private zoo owner and tiger breeder, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence at the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma after he was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his longtime critic and rival Carole Baskin of the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary. He was also found guilty of falsifying wildlife records and for violating the Endangered Species Act.
The lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, was filed at the county jail on March 17. Exotic is suing the US Department of Interior and the US Federal Wildlife Service for USD$78,840,00 for loss of personal property and 18 years’ worth of work with tigers. He alleges that both government departments placed the “generic tiger” on the endangered species list specifically to target businesses like the private zoo he once owned.
Exotic also claimed that he was “discriminated against because he is the only person charged with this statute because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.”
He is suing his former colleagues, including former business partner Lowe, for an additional USD$15 million, accusing them of allegedly lying to the government and planting evidence against him. He is also suing another former colleague turned informant. As we learn in the documentary, James Garretson bragged about being an informant for the FBI.
Lowe’s wife, Lauren, told Rolling Stone that the lawsuit is “nonsense”.
“We’re not worried about it,” she said when reached for comment. “We’ve been told that the judge will not approve it because of the crimes that Joe has committed.”
As for a possible second season, one of the Tiger King directors Rebecca Chaiklin told Entertainment Weekly that a follow-up isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.
“I mean, yes we have a crazy amount of footage and it’s a long story that’s still unfolding,” she said. “We’re not sure yet, but there could be a follow-up on this story because there’s a lot that’s still unfolding in it, and it’ll be just as dramatic and just as colourful as what has unfolded these past few years.”
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is streaming now on Netflix.