Netflix’s Tiger King explores the life of big-cat breeder Joe Exotic and the circumstances that led to his arrest and prison sentence. His husband, Dillon Passage recently opened up about their relationship status. He also revealed that Joe Exotic is currently in COVID-19 isolation.
Why is ‘Tiger King’ star Joe Exotic in jail?
As shown in Tiger King, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is a zookeeper and big-cat enthusiast who opened his own zoo in Oklahoma. The 57-year-old was embroiled in an intense feud with his longtime rival, Carole Baskin.
Baskin is the founder of Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for tigers, lions, and other big cats. She openly criticized Maldonado-Passage for breeding big-cats and often claimed that he endangered his animals. When Baskin began interfering in Maldonado-Passage’s business dealing, he started targeting her through insulting online videos.
Tiger King shows how Maldonado-Passage hired two different hitmen to kill Baskin while under federal investigation. As reported by NBC News, the zookeeper was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison by the U.S. District Court for the Western District Court of Oklahoma.
Who is Dillon Passage?
Dillon Passage is Maldonado-Passage’s current husband. On Tiger King, Maldonado-Passage reveals that he met Passage in an online chatroom, fell in love, and got married soon after. When Maldonado-Passage lost his zoo to business partner Jeff Lowe, the couple moved from Oklahoma to Gulf Breeze, Florida.
In a recent interview with Variety Live, Passage revealed he’s still married, despite Maldonado-Passage’s 22-year sentence. He also explained why he stood by his husband’s side after the trial and conviction.
“I wasn’t just going to abandon him when he needed help because he was there for me,” he told the outlet. “I felt it was only right to stand by him and not judge him for the circumstance because I understood his relationship with Carole. It was a very negative kind of thing and he was in a dark place when all of this stuff occurred. He just needed support so I was just going to stand next to him.”
Passage says the ‘Tiger King’ is currently in coronavirus isolation
When talking to Andy Cohen on his Sirius XM radio show Radio Andy, Passage revealed Maldonado-Passage is currently in individual COVID-19 isolation in a Texas jail. Maldonado-Passage doesn’t appear to have the virus, Passage noted, but he did spend time in a facility where cases were found.
“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 said. “I’ve yet to speak to him since he moved.”
He also told Cohen that he still loves Maldonado-Passage, and plans to be there for him during this time.