TMZ has learned that Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic on the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service for nearly $79 million while serving his time at Grady County Jail in Oklahoma. Before we delve any deeper into his suit, we should note that there will be spoilers below for Tiger King.
Exotic claims in the suit, per TMZ, that he was a victim of malicious prosecution and discrimination because the aforementioned agencies were allegedly responsible for "stealing my property and promoting an animal rights agenda" when they purposely tried to put him out of his business by placing the "generic tiger" on the endangered species list.
Exotic argues that he was "discriminated against because he is the only person charged with this statute because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds." He is seeking $78,840,000 which would cover his personal property loss, as well as 18 years worth of his work with tigers.
He's also demanding another $15 million for being falsely arrested and imprisoned over an attempted murder plot on his enemy Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist behind the sanctuary Big Cat Rescue, in addition to violating the Endangered Species Act for killing five tigers. He's serving a 22-year sentence after he was found guilty in October 2017. Exotic also claims his former business partner Jeff Lowe lied to investigators and planted evidence that would implicate him while alleging that another former colleague's turn as an informant contributed to the death of his mother.