rogue

"He treated his son worse." Everything we know about Joe Exotic's 'secret son' Brandon. 

If there is one thing we can expect from Joe Exotic, a self-described “gay, gun-toting cowboy with a mullet”, it is the unexpected.

Since being released on Netflix in mid-March, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness has become the surprise phenomenon that has been a distraction for millions around the world amid a global pandemic.

The seven-part docuseries, which dives into the bizarre world of big cat ownership in the United States, follows the feud between zoo operator Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, and animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

The mind-boggling series is jam-packed with an attempted murder-for-hire, polygamy, heavy drug use and the exploitation of animals and humans.

But there is a lot the documentary didn’t show in great detail. Including the fact that Joe Exotic has a 38-year-old son called Brandon Chappell.

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness below. Post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

According to Joe Exotic’s former producer Rick Kirkham, the flamboyant big cat owner had a son with his former girlfriend Kim, before his polygamous marriage with men.

In an interview with The Sun, Kirkham revealed: “He had children and his son came to work at the zoo the summer that I was there, the very first summer”.

According to Kirkham, Joe Exotic was “married to a woman years before”.

It’s understood that in the early 1980s, Joe lived with his then-girlfriend Kim, the mother of Brandon, while he worked as the chief of police in Eastvale, Texas.

His son, Brandon Chappell, is now 38-years-old and has three kids.

joe exotic son brandon chappell
Rick Kirkham. Image: Netflix.
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"His son Brandon is in the documentary and I’m surprised that the documentary didn’t bring that up," Kirkham said.

It is not clear where exactly in the documentary Joe's son can be seen.

"Joe treated his son worse than he treated the other employees. He expected more out of him, he expected him to take more leadership and do harder work," the former producer of the Joe Exotic show shared.

"He had his son sweeping the park instead of giving him a decent job, feeding the animals or something like that.

"It was almost as though he regretted having a child, that he regretted having been married."

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It's not the first time Brandon has been spoken about publicly by a person close to Joe Exotic.

Joe's niece Chealsi Putman spoke to Daily Mail last week, claiming he had a rocky relationship with his son.

"Joe was in and out of Brandon’s life when he was growing up, at one point just a few years ago Brandon and his then-wife, both worked at the zoo with Joe," the 31-year-old niece told the publication.

"Joe would go around telling everyone this was his son, he made no secret about it."

Their relationship went south when the zoo keeper allegedly asked Brandon's wife to illegally change the account books, causing Brandon to leave the zoo and return to Texas with his family.

Following Joe's relationship with a woman named Kim, he married two men, Travis Maldonado and John Finlay, in a three-person wedding ceremony in 2014.

John soon became estranged from Joe leading to the end of their relationship, and Travis and Joe's relationship came to a tragic end in 2017 when Travis accidentally shot himself in the head.

Two months after Travis' death, Joe married Dillon Passage. Joe and Dillon were still listed as legally married as of 2019.

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Feature Image: Instagram.


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