animals & pet care

Joe Exotic biography: 13 things about ‘Tiger King’ star

Joe Exotic is an openly gay white man born and raised on a farm in Garden City, Kansas, United States. He is a former zoo operator.

Aside from Kansas, Exotic lived in other parts of the U.S. including Wyoming and Texas. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. He was born Joseph Allen Schreibvogel to Francis Schreibvogel and Shirley Schreibvogel, who both had come from wealthy farming families. He has four siblings. (a) (b)
  2. When he was 5 years old, he was repeatedly raped by an older boy old at his own home, he said in the Discovery Digital documentary “Joe Exotic: Before He Was King.” (c)
  3. He was in the fifth grade, he had an ulcer disease, he said in “Joe Exotic: Before He Was King.” (c)
  4. When he was 14, he and his family moved to Wyoming then to Pilot Point, Texas. (b)
  5. He dated a woman named Kim. She gave birth to their son Brandon Chappell in 1982. In the same year, he graduated from high school and became a police officer in Eastvale, Texas. When he was 19 years old, , he was promoted to chief of police. (d)
  6. In 1989, he and his older brother Garold Wayne Schreibvogel, the only sibling he was close with, bought a pet store in Texas. In 1997, Garold died from injuries sustained in a car crash and his family won some money from a settlement, which he used to buy a ranch in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, USA. He turned it into a zoo called the Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park, which became known for its tigers, lions, ligers and other exotic animals. Because he bred tigers, he was accused of animal abuse by several animal rights activists including Carole Baskin, who owns the tiger sanctuary called the Big Cat Rescue in Florida, USA. (b) (e)
  7. In 2001, his first known partner Brian Rhyne died of complications from human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV). (f)
  8. In December 2014, he, Travis Maldonado and became unofficially married to each other in a three-partner wedding ceremony. In October 2017, Maldonado accidentally shot himself in the head. On December 11, 2017, he married Dillon Passage. Later, he legally changed his name to Joseph Maldonado-Passage. (b)
  9. On September 5, 2018, a federal grand jury returned an indictment that accused him of hiring two persons to murder a woman in Florida in November 2017. Unbeknownst to him, one of the two persons he hired was an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. (a)
  10. On November 7, 2018, a superseding indictment accused him of falsifying forms involving the sale of wildlife in interstate commerce, killing five tigers in October 2017 to make room for cage space for other big cats and selling and offering to sell tiger cubs in interstate commerce. During a trial that started on March 25, 2019, a jury heard evidence that he hired Allen Glover to murder Baskin. The evidence showed that in July 2016, he started looking for someone to hire to murder Baskin and on December 8, 2017, he met the undercover FBI agent. (a)
  11. On January 22, 2020, U.S. District Judge Scott L. Palk sentenced him to 22 years in federal prison and ordered him to spend three years of supervised release upon release from prison. He was 56 years old at the time. (a)
  12. His life was the subject of “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a documentary miniseries released on Netflix on March 20, 2020. (e)
  13. Led by Eric Love, his legal team filed a 257-page application for a pardon. However, he was among the more than 100 pardons and commutations issued by 45th U.S. president Donald Trump on January 20, 2020. (g) (h)


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