For the first time since becoming a huge star thanks to Tiger King, Joe Exotic has spoken from behind bars – and admits he has regrets about his past.
For the first time since becoming a huge star thanks to Tiger King, Joe Exotic has spoken from behind bars – and admits he has regrets about his past.

WATCH THE VIDEO: ‘Ashamed’ Tiger King star breaks silence

For the first time since Tiger King made him a household name, Joe Exotic is speaking up from prison.

In a new video released by Netflix, the Oklahoma zoo owner, who is currently serving time in federal prison for a murder for hire plot, admits that he's "ashamed" of how he treated his tigers, chimpanzees, and other animals for the past two decades.

If you want to understand how these animals feel in captivity, said Exotic, "Go sit in a cage with your animals for a week."

Exotic has become a household name thanks to the Tiger King series.
Exotic has become a household name thanks to the Tiger King series.

In a video recorded on March 22, Exotic speaks openly about his time in prison and the new-found fame that has come from the Netflix docu-series. "When I walk out of here, am I going to be as crazy as I was before?" he says. "That will never change."

In April 2019, Exotic - whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage - was sentenced to 22 years in prison for hiring a hitman to murder adversary Carole Baskin, owner of the Big Cat Rescue, and for violating the Endangered Species Act. Exotic tells Netflix that he regrets how he treated the animals at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and he wants fans to know that he understands the criticism.

"When I left the zoo and I sent my chimpanzees to the sanctuary in Florida and imagined what my chimpanzees went through for 18 years, I'm ashamed of myself," he says.

Exotic is currently behind bars.
Exotic is currently behind bars.

While Tiger King fans may be obsessed with the question of whether Carole Baskin killed her husband, Jack "Don" Lewis, in the late 1990s - Florida authorities have reopened the 23-year-old cold case in the wake of the series' success - Exotic insists that he's done speculating about the incident.

"I'm done with the Carole Baskin saga," the former presidential candidate tells Netflix. "It's now time to turn the tables and (get) Joe out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges."

Tiger King is now streaming on Netflix.

This article originally appeared in Decider and was reproduced with permission.

Originally published as 'Ashamed': Tiger King star breaks silence



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