Tiger King Joe Exotic would seek ‘revenge’ if he was released, says former producer

Tiger King star Joe Exotic would seek "revenge" if he was released from prison, his former TV producer has claimed.

Joe Exotic is the self-styled Tiger King. Picture: Netflix
Joe Exotic is the self-styled Tiger King. Picture: Netflix

Exotic - real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage - is serving 22 years for plotting to have animal rights activist Carole Baskin killed.

The seven-part Netflix documentary series tells the story of the eccentric wildlife breeder and Oklahoma zoo owner before his arrest.

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TV producer Rick Kirkham, who now lives in Norway, said Exotic would be unable to "forgive and forget" if he was freed early.

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Speaking during an interview with All Things Live, he said: "He is where he belongs... because I am telling you, when he gets out he is going to go for revenge.

"Joe Exotic is not the kind of guy who, if he got out today, would forgive and forget and move on.

"This is the kind of guy that's going to get some payback and all of us who know him know that personality within him.

"He would not just come out and go, 'Hey, I'm a new man'. He would come out and he would go for revenge."

Mr Kirkham spent a year documenting Exotic's life before the zoo's production studio burnt down with most of his tapes inside.

The former Inside Edition reporter gave what was left of the tapes to the filmmakers behind Tiger King.

Kirkham said: "I have seen a therapist over working in that park, a therapist for a couple of years now."

Asked why, he said: "The only way I can describe (Exotic) is a sort of cult leader. He is a cult-like figure.

"He has a way of luring you in and then, once you are lured in, he has got you, and once he has got you, you are going to do whatever he wants. And I had a tough time.

"He could do that with his employees but I wasn't an employee. I was there as a contracted producer but I couldn't help but get caught up in this cult-like thing of him, his tigers - and I mean this guy had a lot of big cats.

"But it was cultish, very cultish, living on the park."

- An eighth episode, titled The Tiger King And I, will arrive on Netflix on April 12.