(TMU) — Millions of people are stuck in their homes due to the CoViD-19 quarantine, and a large number of them have found an escape in the new Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King.
According to the streaming service’s daily rankings, Tiger King is the number one most-watched show in the U.S. as of March 29 and has been in the top 10 for the past week.
The series is about the life and arrest of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, a former Oklahoma zookeeper who is currently in prison for allegedly hiring an employee to kill his rival and CEO of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin.
Days before the recent release of the series, Joe Exotic filed a $94 million federal civil rights lawsuit against his former business partners and multiple government agencies for false imprisonment, loss of property, and payment for the years of work and research that went into creating the content that was used in the series. He also claims that his imprisonment has contributed to the death of his mother Shirley Schreibvogel.
In the lawsuit, Joe claims he was set up by his former business partner Jeffery Lowe and other business rivals who worked with federal agents to entrap him in a murder for hire plot that he claims to have had no knowledge of. Joe regularly made threats against Carole Biskin’s life on his shows, often in theatrical ways like shooting or blowing up life-sized dolls on camera. This footage was later used in court to secure the conviction against him.
However, Joe claims that he never actually intended to kill anyone and never paid the employee to do the deed.
The Tiger King docuseries details how Lowe was able to take ownership of Joe Exotic’s zoo in the midst of his legal battle with Carole Baskin through offering to help with finances and how the relationship turned sour shortly after. Lowe brought one of his close friends, Allen Glover, to work at the zoo, and it was Glover who ultimately testified that he was paid $3,000 to kill Baskin.
Joe claims that his former business partners colluded with federal agents to put him behind bars on trumped-up charges. And then, once Joe was behind bars, Lowe was able to take full ownership of the park and all of his assets.
Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence. After the release of the series, a change.org petition was launched to urge President Donald Trump to pardon Joe Exotic. The petition has since gathered over 18,000 signatures.