Joe Exotic, protagonist of the commented show Tiger King, is a controversial character with a bizarre story full of chiaroscuro that has fascinated viewers of this popular Netflix docuserie.
Born in Garden City, KS, his real name is Joseph Schreibvogel, but he changed it to Maldonado-Passage because he considered that few people knew how to pronounce it well.
Raised on a farm with four brothers and parents of German origin whom he describes as cold, his love for animals began at a very young age.
In an interview in New York magazine, he said that he did not grow up in a warm and family environment, and that there was never any sign of affection at home. In addition, he revealed that he had been sexually abused at age 5 by a "bigger boy" repeatedly in his own home.
Already as an adult, after a suicide attempt due to a dispute with his father for his homosexuality, he dedicated himself to raising exhibition pigeons. Soon, he bought his own pet store with his brother Garold Wayne, according to Esquire magazine.
After the death of his brother in a car accident, Maldonado-Passage wanted to pay tribute to him by making the deceased's dream of traveling to Africa a reality. With the help of her parents, she bought a ranch in Oklahoma, which they transformed into a shelter for rescued animals, which they named Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park, better known as GW Zoo.
In addition to the animals that were born in the zoo, they received a large number of exotic animals - particularly tigers - that people from all over the country donated to them because they couldn't keep them in their homes, according to the Netflix documentary.
(Photo by Paul B. Southerland / The Oklahoman / Imagn / USA Today Network / Sipa USA)
After meeting a magician named Johnny Magi c, he began to perform magic tricks in which he turned tiger cubs into adult tigers. From the show that launched the national stage name of Joe Exotic with which he is now known, according to Esquire.
His fame also meant that animal rights organizations began to monitor their activities and criticize how he cares for them. The dispute became a criminal case when Joe was found guilty of trying to assassinate the head of the Big Cat Rescue organization, Carole Baskin, who he considers his arch enemy, in 2017.
For that and other federal crimes related to the protection of animal life of which he was found guilty, he was sentenced to a 22-year prison sentence, which he is currently serving.
(Photo by Nate Billings / The Oklahoman / Imagn / USA Today Network / Sipa USA)
This Thursday, the 57-year-old inmate was transferred to a Federal Bureau of Prisons medical center in Forth Worth, TX, as a precautionary measure for the coronavirus. It is unknown if he is infected with COVID-19, the New York Post clarified.
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