‘Tiger King’ Zookeeper Files $93M Lawsuit From Prison

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – Joe Exotic has never been accused of being subtle. The blond-mulleted zookeeper and star of Netflix’s true-crime docuseries “Tiger King” has drawn thousands of new fans to his YouTube channel this week with videos of him firing guns, swearing and singing country music while among his large collection of tigers.

In the self-shot music video for “Here Kitty Kitty,” Exotic bluntly alleges that Carole Baskin — a competing tiger sanctuary owner from Florida — may have killed her husband in 1997 and fed his body to her tigers to keep all of his assets to herself.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)

“Oh, here kitty kitty, momma’s got some treats for you,” Exotic croons as a woman is shown feeding meat through a cage to a tiger while holding a decapitated mannequin head on a tray.

Exotic — real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage — is serving 22 years in federal prison for trying to hire a hit man to murder Baskin, falsifying wildlife records, and violating endangered animal laws when he killed and sold tigers.

From behind bars, he brought a $93.8 million federal complaint last week against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Interior and several of his perceived enemies, alleging a vast conspiracy to take his animals away from him that he also blames for his mother’s death.

Exotic contends that federal agents placed tigers on endangered species lists “to stop the breeding of generic tigers” rather than protect them.

“Also to allow them to file charges to put me in jail and out of business,” the 15-page pro se complaint states. “Therefore stealing my property and promoting an animal rights agenda … select[ively] enforcing the Endangered Species Act only on me. Wrongfully enforcing the wor[d] ‘take’ as to mean animals born and bred in my zoo.”

Exotic is also going after his former business partner Jeffery Lowe, who he claims made false statements to federal agents.

“He was the main person in this entrapment scheme to take my zoo for free,” Exotic writes in the March 18 filing. “Changed my medicine with illegal drugs, stole my animals under fraudulent reasons. Destroyed my house with all my personal property in it.”

Exotic claims that during his time in prison, he has been sexually assaulted and is fearful of being tied to a chair. He wants to be “repaid for my personal property and 18 years of research lost” due to the case against him.

The Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday morning.

Baskin — Exotic’s murder-for-hire-target — blasted Netflix and the documentary series for being “as salacious and sensational as possible” while failing to deliver on alleged assurances to her that it was meant to expose “the misery caused by rampant breeding” of tigers. She denies her husband was a millionaire when they met and says she helped police after his disappearance.

“As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don 21 years ago,” Baskin said in a written statement. “The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims.”

Dressed in a clerical collar, black suit and black cowboy hat, Exotic sings in the music video that, “if you’re ever down in Tampa in a big cat refuge, don’t pick a fight with your wife.”

A federal jury needed only a few hours to convict him last April.

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