Tiger King’s primary subject, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is still in prison. The former operator of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park was sentenced to 22 years in January 2020 on two murder-for-hire counts and 17 charges of animal abuse. A federal appeals court reduced his term to 17 years in July of this year.
Maldonado-Passage continues to clamor for attention from behind bars, hoping to get pardoned. After the docuseries went viral, singer and rapper Cardi B took to Twitter to announce she “stans” Joe Exotic. He still tweets her to ask for help in rallying his supporters.
President Trump posted a couple of Tiger King memes, and Maldonado-Passage sent him a handwritten letter in September 2020 asking for clemency. Private investigator Eric Love and attorney John M. Phillipps championed the campaign to free him. On the day Trump announced his list of pardoned convicts, supporters were ready with a limousine and a hair and makeup team outside Federal Medical Center in Texas—that blonde mullet would require maintenance, after all. But Maldonado-Passage’s name wasn’t on the list. He has reportedly reached out to President Joe Biden about pardons as well.
In May 2020, an Oklahoma court gave ownership of his beloved zoo to his nemesis, Carole Baskin. His husband, Dillon Passage, announced their divorce earlier this year. Maldonado-Passage recently revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer. He (or his team of lawyers) actively tweets about Tiger King 2, hoping justice will prevail for him (whatever that means) after it is released.
After Tiger King season one, he was the focus of two other documentaries: Discovery UK’s Surviving Joe Exotic and BBC’s Shooting Joe Exotic. Nicolas Cage was set to play Maldonado-Passage in a now-shelved Amazon project. Peacock’s series about him is still happening, with John Cameron Mitchell in the lead role.