Joe Exotic Roars Back: The Untold Story of an Unlikely Candidate's Fight for Freedom

Joe Exotic Roars Back: The Untold Story of an Unlikely Candidate's Fight for Freedom

Joe Exotic Roars Back: The Untold Story of an Unlikely Candidate's Fight for Freedom

Pt. 1 of a deep dive into Joe’s letter chock full of newfound evidence as we unravel the wild saga for redemption in the heart of American chaos By Jessica Reed Kraus and Emilie Hagen Mar 1, 2024

“Isn’t That Crazy That Netflix Made Millions of Dollars Just to Destroy My Life?”

We’ve all seen Tiger King. But have we ever heard Tiger King’s side of the story?

After being locked up in federal prison cell for six years, Joseph Allen Maldonado, better known as Joe Exotic, has been shouting into the digital webs for months, posting memes, links to new evidence and commenting #FIXTHISSHIT on countess celebrity posts, hoping that some curious avatar out there will hear these virtual cries for help echoed from his lonely Texas prison cell, click on his website, pay attention to what he’s saying and help free him.

Even though the trial was extensively covered in the final episode of the Netflix series—undoubtedly dramatized for maximum entertainment – the specifics of what led to Joe's prolonged incarceration still baffles many.

The wildly popular docu-series following around eccentric Oklahoma zookeepers, was an instant hit during the quarantine, streamed in 64 million households its first month alone.

Almost everybody locked down in 2020 saw Tiger King, everyone except the Tiger King himself, who was locked up in a federal prison with no access to streaming when the show came out.

Fortunately for Joe, the world hasn’t entirely forgotten about him.

Fans from all over the world write him letters daily. He replies to about 2000 per month, determined to get his truth out to as many people as possible. If he was allowed visitors, they’d be lining out the door, but oddly that option has been stripped from him. Joe is one of the only inmates at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth who isn’t allowed visitors.

Remember: ‘Save Joe Exotic’ started as a joke. My oldest son Arlo urged me to follow him.

Not wanting to overlook any unique and unexpected angles on this campaign journey, I decided to write Joe a letter after his social media manager reached out after the comment Joe left on my page garnered substantial online attention. He knew I was at Mar-A-Lago. He begged me to ask Donald Trump to pardon him while I was there. After connecting, his manager gave me Joe’s address and told me that if I wrote him a letter, he would likely write back. However, communication in prison is slow and unpredictable. It took well over two months to find Joe’s reply in my mailbox.


Joe responded with a long letter. The details and accusations included are so incriminating it left us no choice but to step up and become those curious avatars that clicked on his website and compiled all this new evidence in a digestible 2 part deep dive. Working alongside Emilie Hagen, we will be investigating these new claims Joe says not a single mainstream outlet has yet been willing to tackle.


Dear Jessica,

I gotta get out of here.

It’s insane I’ve been in prison for six years so Netflix could make a fucking show. Netflix made $15-$20 million dollars to destroy my life.

I didn’t get a dime of that money since I was in prison. I was told it was illegal for me to make money off the show because it was about “my crime.” My ex-husband, signed the contract, and ran off with $2.6 million dollars and left me in prison. I divorced him over a year ago.

I’m a political prisoner for the Big Cat Safety Act. That’s why I’m here. Carole Baskin introduced this bill and got a lot of politicians behind her to pass it, a bill that would ban anyone from owning tigers except for the people in HER organization, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and the American Zoological Association (AZA). I fought that bill for 11 years and kept it from passing. They had to lock me up for it to pass. At one point, they even nicknamed it the “Tiger King” bill. President Biden signed it into law December 20, 2022. It is now illegal for anyone in America to own a tiger except for somebody that’s a member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (Carol’s organization) or the AZA. It’s an illegal monopoly and unfortunately, I’m a political prisoner over it. That’s why they did this. They worked with Netflix to make me look batshit crazy so they could pass a bill to ban people from owning tigers.

Right now, I would like to seek asylum in the United Kingdom or Canada because as of now I’m a political prisoner in America.

Netflix Producers Paid Zoo Workers and Witnesses

Many people on the show were paid by Netflix to be an asshole. You have to consider all of the people at the zoo were druggies and alcoholics that had nothing, no vehicle, no money, no nothing. I provided them a place to live and gave them money. They all depended on that zoo.

When I left the zoo, Netflix came flashing money at them. For a crackhead, $10,000 to $15,000 is a lot of money. They’ll do or say anything. And that’s what happened to Erik Cowie, the long-haired keeper who was found dead in New York. I did everything I could to save that man, but he turned on me for money in the end because that’s what motivated him.

When they started filming the series, it was only supposed to be a small episode about tigers. But when Netflix producers, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin started hanging around the zoo longer, the more I got the feeling that they were up to something. I never knew the entire series was going to revolve around me.

By April/May of 2018, they started putting a lot of pressure on everyone and started paying people to say what they wanted them to say on camera. Some of them got paid $20,000-$30,000 for an interview. It was supposed to be a real-deal documentary series. They were not supposed to be paying people.

We now have phone recordings on my lawyer John Phillips’ YouTube channel called “Tiger Tales.” We have phone recordings of Eric Goode paying James Garretson and them $5000 a piece out of the witness room, during my trial, to keep the narrative going so he could make the goddamn series!

Isn’t it crazy Netflix made millions of dollars just to destroy my life? 

That was the real me on the show. I wasn’t playing a character. That was also the real Carole. Everyone else was bullshit acting for a paycheck.

Carole Baskin

I actually don’t hate Carole Baskin. I had fun picking on her. She’s just so crazy that she was such a blast to pick on. She’s certifiably crazy and has always been that way. Who goes everywhere with flowers on their head?

Me and Carole had a war going on and it’s because we made money off each other. It wasn’t because I wanted to hurt her. Carole wanted me out of business. It is just the way the animal world worked. Carole made money convincing people I abused animals. I pulled baby tigers away from their Moms or let people pet them at my zoo, so she used this against me for years. In return, I made money getting the world to think Carole Baskin was batshit crazy and killed her husband, which I know she did.

I know she killed her husband. I believe she hit him over the head in the middle of the night with a crow bar, and her father rounded him up, fed him to the tigers, and I think whatever the tigers didn’t eat, went into the septic tank that she installed the day before she reported him missing.

I have her original diary and everything. The very last sentence in Carole’s diary is “I have to find a way out.” She hated her husband. She hated his guts! He was very rich but wouldn’t let her spend any of his money and she hated him for it.

Carole designed his will, it says it on the will. The first sentence of the will says, “incase of my disappearance…” Who would write that in a will? Only Carole.

Jeff Lowe Tried Killing Me

When my late husband died in 2017, it destroyed me. I was done with the zoo. At that time, I started moving animals out of there. Allen Glover, Jeff Lowe’s employee, the supposed hit-man would always call Jeff and tell him that Joe was moving animals off the property. One day, I was in the hospital getting a tumor in my sinus cavity removed, and as I’m waking up from my surgery, my phone rang and I find out Jeff Lowe beat up my new husband. That’s how crazy these people were!

Jeff then started changing my prescription medicine on me, putting hash oil into my capsules before my shows. I don't smoke marijuana or do drugs, so when I took four capsules of hash oil right before stepping into the tiger cage, it really hit me midway through the performance. John Finlay helped get me out of the cage and the called the control center because I was mad sick. Jeff was hoping I would be so fucked up that the tigers would eat me alive.

Another time, they purposely put perfume on my shoes before I entered the cage. Have you ever seen the video where the lion drags me across a cage? That was from the time they put perfume on the bottom of my shoe, hoping I would slip and die.

Jeff Lowe was supposed to be an investor but he ended up being a conman.

Jeff Lowe Drugging Women at the Zoo

Jeff Lowe used to use ketamine and cocaine to lure in customers who came to the zoo and bring them over to his cabin where he would drug them. Then him and Lauren would have sex with them and video tape it to blackmail them.

One time, they met this girl from Las Vegas on Facebook. They got her to fly down to the zoo. When she got there, they found out she was an older Asian woman who was pulling the same scam they were pulling. They got pissed off, drugged her and went through her suitcase while she was asleep and found a book of 75+ Asian girls that she was sex trafficking in Las Vegas. These two felt like they hit the goldmine. The next morning the Asian lady came into their office and Jeff said to her, “I’m either gonna turn you in or you're gonna cut me in.” They went to Las Vegas and since James Garretson was running a scheme with fake credit cards and IDs, they leased houses under fake IDs.

If you click on the evidence link on my website (EVIDENCE LINK) all of the fake IDs are in my motion for a new trial.

Sex Trafficking Ring

Jeff and Lauren Lowe then started this big sex trafficking ring and used tigers to lure people to the hotel. While they were out at Vegas, I called PETA for help. Brittney from PETA helped me move 40+ tigers, all my chimpanzees, a bunch of my monkeys and three of my bears out. I had enough. I wanted to leave the zoo. We have evidence of Jeff and Lauren producing counterfeit Prince memorabilia. They spent all day crafting replicas of Prince’s clothing and then selling them online, pretending these items were original pieces worn by Prince himself. Lauren would go on eBay to look for clothes and sunglasses that looked like Prince would wear, purchase them for as low as $5 and then resell them for $500. To pull off this scheme, they would forge certificates of authenticity to send along with these fake items.

Jeff has stolen so many peoples' identities. He dresses like Evil Knievel. He screwed over Robby Knievel. He took his whole life away from him. He did the same thing with Dan Haggerty, “Grizzly Adams.” One time, Grizzly Adams came to the zoo to do a show with me. There’s pictures of us on my social media. Jeff refused to pay him and tried to say he “made” Grizzly Adams. He was so full of shit. It was just CRAZY.

Eventually, Jeff, Lauren and James turned over their cell phones and now we have everything. We have phone recordings of Lauren recording Jeff while they were fighting admitting to raping girls. You wouldn't believe it.

All of this evidence is going to come out during the new trial. We have copies of everything. It’s all in the evidence bank for the new motion. Everything is public knowledge now. It is all in a court document.

New Tiger King Cast Member Evidence

Jeff and Lauren Lowe have admitted to perjury. Allen, the hit-man, just did a deposition on paper and video that also backs up my story. Look at evidence.

Joshua Dial, my political campaign manager who acted like he hated me on the show, reached out recently wanting to help me.

Carole made a post online a month ago, admitting that it was all bullshit and made up. Carol posted it online to help me. She has since deleted the video but I have it saved.

The crazy part about all of this, is that Carole had this evidence when I was getting resentenced for 21 years of prison when SHE KNEW I WAS INNOCENT. She was making over $1 million on Cameo alone, so it was better to keep me behind bars.

Tragedy Strikes

You would shit your pants if you saw what I’ve been living in, all while fighting prostate cancer. Last year, I completed a year of chemo and radiation. My counts are climbing which is a sign it could have came back but I refused a biopsy so I don’t know. I’m fighting for my life. I haven’t seen anyone since they do not let me have any visitors. Since I’ve been in prison, both of my parents have passed away. It’s been a tragic six years for me.

Prison Romance

The only good thing that came out of me going to prison is, I fell in love. If you look at my Instagram, you’ll see a 6’5 Cuban man named Jose Amador. I met him here and we’re now engaged. If you go on my Instagram page, you’ll see our New Years picture together. Why do I think he’s the one? Well, I love his energy. He’s just sexy, sexy, sexy. I’ve never had anyone in my life look out for me. It’s always been me looking out for everyone else. Nobody ever had my back. Jose is the first person to ever have my back and look out for me. Reach out to Jose on Instagram and he can tell you about how we met.

Joe Needs a Presidential Pardon or $75,000 for Lawyer Fees

Do you realize if Trump publicly said he’d pardon me if elected how much more support he’d have? I’m popular as shit in Georgia. He wouldn’t need to call them for votes. 34 million people watched Netflix the first week in America. Five years later, I’m still in the news every other day. My fans would push Trump over the top if he said he’d give me a pardon.

But if a President won’t pardon me, I need to raise money on my own to pay my new lawyers. I can’t afford the lawyers I have now. I deserve the right to a fair trial.

When I was first convicted, Cardi B reached out to me and tried to set up a GoFundMe to help me raise money for a lawyer but wasn’t able to because GoFundMe doesn’t allow people to raise money for legal fees. I’ve had my social media manager reach out to Cardi B fans, Justin Bieber fans and my own fans to try to raise money on my own through a website.

My new appeal is about to be filed. All I need to raise is $75,000 for this appeal so I can go home. There’s a link to donate on my website. (DONATE HERE)

I am innocent. The lawyers have enough evidence this time to get me out so I won’t be stuck with a public defender. I am confident all the new evidence will set me free. I want the world to finally hear my side of the story. Nobody has ever heard my side. They need to hear the truth. Set me free.

Thank you for your help.

With love,




Because Joe’s letter provided so much new information, Part 2 will revolve around the investigation pertaining to details mentioned in his new motion + documents and evidence that coincide with the claims and stories Joe tells above. Chapter 2 will also feature exclusive interviews from JT Barnett, Tiger King’s original producer, and Joe’s new boyfriend Jose Amador.

Click below to donate to Joe Exotic. The link goes directly to Joe’s PayPal:


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