Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Tiger King's Joe Exotic Alleges Antigay Discrimination in $94M Suit 

Joe Maldonado-Passage

Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is the must-see docuseries of the year. The show chronicling the big cat war between polygamous gay tiger tamer Joe “Exotic” (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) has captivated viewers with its wild story.

Now, Maldonado-Passage — who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for a murder-for-hire plan against Carole Baskin, the head of Big Cat Rescue, and for 17 wildlife violations for the killing of five tigers — has filed a federal lawsuit seeking $94 million in damages.

Maldonado-Passage claims in the lawsuit that he was targeted because he’s “an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds,” according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit also alleges that Maldonado-Passage was convicted on “false and perjured testimony.”

Maldonado-Passage, whose zoo was set up in Oklahoma, is currently serving his time at the 1,500-inmate Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, according to the AP.

The docuseries delves into a host of characters involved in the big cat world, each wackier or more sinister than the last. But the feud between Maldonado-Passage and Baskin is at the center. His identity as a gun-toting, mullet-sporting, erstwhile magician, musician, and former roadside zookeeper who once had two husbands at once makes for great TV.

Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., led the charge against Maldonado-Passage’s Oklahoma-based roadside empire and his illegal breeding of tigers for decades. The docuseries also sheds light on Maldonado-Passage’s insistence that Baskin murdered her millionaire husband, Don Lewis, who went missing more than 20 years ago. While salacious rumors have persisted about Baskin’s missing husband, she denies knowing what happened to him and was never charged with a crime.

Tags: News, Crime

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