Tiger King: Joe Exotic ‘never abused animals’ and claims are ‘activist hoax’, lover says

Netflix docu-series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has been one of the most popular shows to be broadcast on the streaming giant. They revealed it had been watched by 64 million households within the first month of its release. This falls around a million short of their top TV hit this month, the fourth season of Money Heist, also known as La Casa De Papel. Despite this, Tiger King has permeated society with countless conversations online about the show, filters made on social media and even Prince William referencing it while appearing on the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser. The tragic tale follows big cat keeper Joe Exotic and his wacky world running a petting zoo. The star was sentenced to 22 years in jail last year, after being found guilty of murder-to-hire plot, animal abuse, document forgery and more. Numerous accounts on the show alleged that Joe had beat and even killed big cats, shocking audiences globally. But new claims from the star’s husband Dillon Passage tell a different story. He alleges that Joe never hurt any of the animals in his care and that it is all a conspiracy concocted by activists who wanted to close his roadside zoo. 

Tiger King documents the bitter feud between Joe Exotic and sanctuary keeper Carole Baskin, as she tries to shut down GW Exotic Animal Park. 

Ms Baskin, an animal rights campaigner, claims facilities like Joe’s should not exist as they allegedly endanger the creatures they care for.

She attempted to sue the self-professed ‘Tiger King’ on a number of occasions, spending around $2.5 million on legal action – according to a costar. 

But Joe’s undoing would actually be himself after he hired hitman to take-out Ms Baskin and was documented making threats to her life on multiples occasions.

He was sentenced to 22 years in jail for the murder-to-hire plot, as well as animal abuse and other crimes. 

Despite the damning evidence against the star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, new claims have emerged.

Joe Exotic’s husband Dillon Passage alleged the star never abused animals and that it was all made up in a bid to close his facility for good.   

He disputed the claims made by former colleagues and activists stating that he would have been killed, during an interview with FUBAR Radio.

Mr Passage revealed that his husband could not have gone into a cage with “10 plus… full grown big cats… every single day, multiple times a day” if he abused them.

He said: “Do you really think he would ever walk out alive if he’d been doing that for 15 years?

“If he once abused them, as in beat them, they would have attacked him immediately.”

JUST IN: Tiger King: ‘Unbelievably cruel’ claim about Joe Exotic exposed

Mr Passage stated the evidence of Joe’s adoration for the animals was in the documentary footage itself in the way – where he lovingly interacted with them.

He added: “He will reach his hands through the cages or go into the cages and just rub their faces and they’ll rub all over him. 

“That is love. That is not anything other than that.”

Mr Passage spoke out about the allegations against his husband, stating there was a confusion between “cub petting” and “abusing the tiger cubs”.

He added: “I really want to make this clear… never once did Joe ever lay a hand on one of his animals.”

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Mr Passage suspects the allegations were spread by “animal rights activists” who he claimed had a vendetta against Joe Exotic.

He said: “I mean I understand, cub petting kind of desensitises the animals and a tiger is an exotic animal that belongs in the wild. 

“But that’s what they refer to as abuse, as using the cubs for your own gain.”

The full interview made by FUBAR Radio can be watched on Access All Areas.

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