The eccentric zookeeper at the center of Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," which became a hit as many around the U.S. began self-isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic, is now in his own isolation in prison because of concerns about the virus, known officially as COVID-19. It’s a situation that seems very on brand for 2020.
Joe Exotic — born Joseph Schreibvogel and whose current name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage — was being held in a county prison since 2018 but he was recently transferred to a federal penitentiary in Texas, the directors of “Tiger King” told The Hollywood Reporter.
Because there were COVID-19 cases in that county prison, the new prison “had to put him in isolation when that transfer took place,” director Eric Goode told the outlet.
Rebecca Chaiklin, also a director behind the docuseries, told The Hollywood Reporter that Exotic, 57, cannot communicate with the outside world as part of his isolation. Exotic’s fourth and current husband Dillon Passage, 24, told Andy Cohen on SiriusXM “Radio Andy” Wednesday that he hasn’t been able to speak to Exotic because of the measure.
“We speak like three to five times every day, but since he’s been moved to this new facility, they are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases,” Passage told Cohen. “I’ve yet to speak to him since he moved.”
Exotic’s isolation comes as he serves his 22-year prison sentence for attempting to hire a hitman to kill cat sanctuary owner Carole Baskin, his longtime rival. He was also found guilty of killing five tigers, falsifying wildlife records, and violating the Endangered Species Act, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Oklahoma.
Chaiklin said Exotic has not yet seen “Tiger King” because of his incarceration.
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