Story Behind Netflix's New True Crime 'Tiger King' Is Absolutely Nuts
Is it just us or has a new sub genre of true crime emerged from the ranks lately? There's no name for it yet, but it's far more absurd, twisted and harrowing than those the came before, leaving you wondering how the crimes ever happened outside of fiction.
Tiger King tells the story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage - aka Joe Exotic - a prolific big cat breeder who ran a zoo in Oklahoma.
Maldonado-Passage's eccentric and flamboyant persona saw him become somewhat of a local celebrity.
Aside from unsuccessfully running for state governor and President of the United States, Maldonado-Passage featured in Louis Theroux's 2011 documentary America's Most Dangerous Pets.
But in the years since he featured on the BBC documentary, things took a sinister turn with the cat breeder.
Just last month, Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison for two murder-for-hire plots against his longtime critic and rival, animal rights activist Carole Baskin, as well as multiple wildlife violations.
By the executive producer behind FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, Tiger King documents Maldonado-Passage's downfall.
Joe Exotic - as he liked to be known - boasted of owning the largest tiger collection in America which proudly displayed in his sixteen acre zoo.
However he had critics, and one in particular riled him more than any other. Carole Baskin, owner of a wildlife sanctuary in Oklahoma, was an avid opposer of Maldonado-Passage.
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She disagreed with his ethics around breeding big cats and letting zoo-goers pet the cubs, and in 2013, won a $1 million civil lawsuit against him.
Consumed with revenge, he set out to destroy Baskin in the most finite way possible - by killing her.
Good morning Big Cat Rescue Friends! Today is our Founder, Carole Baskin's Birthday! To honor her & her tireless work for the cats we are raising money to support the cats at Big Cat Rescue. Please help us wish Carole a Happy Birthday!
Donate link: https://t.co/o46h5KzrTp pic.twitter.com/Ew1jJ67rwE
- Big Cat Rescue (@BigCatRescue) June 6, 2019
Maldonado-Passage attempted to hire hit men to murder the activist on two occasions. On one, he paid someone $3,000 to travel from Florida to Oklahoma to carry out the murder-for-hire, promising more when the deed was done.
In 2016, he met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a hit man to discuss details of her murder, offering him £10,000 to commit the crime.
"Because of his constant threats to kill me, I have found myself seeing every bystander as a potential threat. There is no where that I have felt safe, and worse, no way that I feel I can safeguard those around me," Baskin said in a statement.
"So many of his threats involved blowing me up, so that he could thrill over seeing me burn to death."
In addition to his crimes against Baskin, Maldonado-Passage shot and killed five tigers in October 2017 and falsified forms that his big cats were being donated. As tigers are an endangered species, this resulted as violations against the Endangered Species Act.
Tiger King is being released on Netflix on 20th March 2020.
We're blocking out our evening for this one.
Featured Image Credit: BBC
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