In 2020, Netflix released the docuseries Tiger King that made Exotic a household name. The series showcased his personal life and work as he worked with tigers at his zoo in Oklahoma. In the midst of filming in 2018, he was arrested and accused of trying to hire two men to murder fellow tiger collector, Carole Baskin. In 2019, he was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder-for-hire. He’s been in a prison in Texas since and told Bobby Bones on The Bobby Bones Show that he is “fighting for his life” and still waiting for a fair trial to prove his innocence.
Exotic has been fighting his case by emailing his attorney and having phone calls with his lawyers, but it’s hard to put a case together when he’s only allowed 10-15 minutes of phone time with his lawyer every few days. Also, the prison staff can read all his emails and monitor everything he says, so they know what evidence will be presented before he files any motions. He said the system was built this way in order to keep people in.
September 7th will mark six years of him being in prison and has been sitting on motion for a new trial for over a year. Exotic said he has over 416 phone recordings, photos and videos to prove he’s innocent and that his costars in Tiger King, Jeff Lowe, James Garettson and Allen Glover were told by federal agents how to lie under oath so they could shut his zoo down and put him in jail. Another piece of evidence he said he has is a recording of Eric Goode with Netflix paying $5 thousand dollars to each person outside of Exotic’s trial, in order to keep the narrative going and make a movie. He also shared that he can’t do the right things because he can’t get the judge to move on a motion for a new trial because the President can’t pardon him as long as he has a motion or appeal on file. He recalled when Donald Trump was President, he toyed him out in public for a year saying he was on the pardon list because he needed votes, but it turned out he was never on the list.
Exotic stressed how the American Justice System is corrupt, and asked why he has to lose six years of his life to get through a system because they don’t want to admit they’re wrong. He said the best way people can help him is to stand up and start complaining about his situation, raise more awareness about it and go to his website and sign his petition. He said it’s not all about him being done wrong, there are also thousands of people in the system who are only in jail because they couldn’t afford a lawyer.
He hasn’t seen Tiger King yet because he does not have Netflix in prison. He thinks that show had an agenda to make and sell a movie that represented him in a bad way. He did see the ‘Joe Exotic vs. Carole Baskin’ special on USA Today and said it was completely false, and that the general public has no idea what he went through to take care of everyone he took in at his zoo. His mission while filming Tiger King was to raise awareness about how people can appreciate and save the tiger habitat no matter where they are in the world. After the show aired, people came into prison and told him they couldn’t believe they were there with him, to which he’d reply he’s just a normal person. To this day he’s still not sure what all the hoopla is about, but he knows he touched a few people's hearts because he’s gotten thousands of letters from people, and he answers every single one.
If you want to help Exotic, you can go to JoeExotic2024.com and click on the evidence page to see all the proof and sign his petition.