A haunted zoo and a forged will: Here's everything that's happened since Tiger King aired.


Remember that moment in time when Tiger King took over approximately everyone’s lives?

Granted, we did cling to the peculiar (and at times very troubling) world of Joe Exotic and his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin to escape the terrifying reality of a world descending into the depths of a global health pandemic.

But, it was obsession just the same, and it appears it’s the silver screen gift that just keeps on giving.

WATCH: The trailer of Tiger King…to relive the magic. Post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

If you missed it, so much has happened in the world of US big cat ownership since you binged all eight episodes of the Netflix documentary in March.

Allow us to get you up to speed.

Joe Exotic now says he’s “ashamed” of keeping animals in cages.

As we learnt in the last episode of the series, Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) was sentenced to 22 years in prison for a string of charges including trying to hire someone to kill Baskin.

During the trial, CNN reports a jury heard evidence that he paid a man USD $3,000 to travel from Oklahoma to Florida to kill Baskin, with a promise to pay thousands more after she was dead.

joe exotic sentence
Joe Exotic's arrest was in the show, but he was yet to be sentenced. Image: Netflix.

He was also convicted for falsifying forms involving the sale of wildlife in interstate commerce, killing five tigers in October 2017, and selling or offering to sell tiger cubs.

What we didn't see was Exotic's reaction to the sentence.

In April 2020, Netflix uploaded an interview with Exotic from prison, in which he said: "It'd be nice if I could actually see myself being famous out there," while admitting now that he himself is in a 'cage' he is ashamed of caging his chimpanzees.


He also said he was "done" with the Carole Baskin saga.

"It’s now time to turn the tables, and get Joe out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges," he said.

In January, just a few months before he would become world-famous, Exotic posted to Facebook: "I still maintain my innocence and looking forward in the upcoming days to my attorneys filing my appeal and moving on to the next step in this nightmare."

After the Netflix series aired, Exotic's zoo was more popular than ever.

Despite the acts of animal cruelty witnessed by viewers of the show, Exotic's zoo enjoyed a flood of customers as the show went to air.


"The crowds have been huge since the Netflix show and we have difficulty in controlling that much traffic at one time," a Facebook update from the zoo revealed.

However, coronavirus quickly shut down the business' newfound fame.

Carole Baskin now owns Joe Exotic’s "haunted" zoo.

As mentioned above, Joe Exotic is currently serving a prison sentence for attempting to hire a man to kill his longtime rival Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue.

In June 2020, a federal judge ruled that Baskin and her crew now own the zoo in lieu of the money he owes them.

Back in 2013, Exotic was ordered to pay Big Cat Rescue USD $1 million for a trademark infringement lawsuit drama, but he never did. It was found that Exotic in fact fraudulently transferred the zoo to his mother in 2011 in an attempt to keep the zoo out of the reach of creditors if he lost the long-running legal battle with Baskin.

tiger king carole baskin
Carole Baskin now owns Joe Exotic's zoo. Image: Netflix.

While Exotic is in prison, his zoo is being managed by Jeff Lowe (who we also met in the series) but thanks to this new ruling, he and his cats have 120 days to vacate the premise.

Big Cat Rescue was also awarded control of a number of cars and cabins on the property as part of the ruling.

Lowe told ET, "It’s always been our intention to leave this place. We don’t particularly like it here because of its geographical location. It’s not a great place for a business, it was poorly constructed, so we’re happy to let her have it… I wish her all the luck in the world, and she can have these 16 acres of haunted memories."

In another statement to TMZ, Lowe added: "The possibility of human remains being buried on this land should make her feel right at home."

Carole Baskin's missing husband Don Lewis' will was forged.

The big question on everyone's lips after watching the Netflix documentary was whether Carole Baskin had anything to do with the disappearance and presumed death of her husband Don Lewis.

The series’ third episode was largely focused on the disappearance of Lewis, who Exotic and others in the big cat community allege was murdered by Baskin.

Baskin has maintained her innocence for more than 20 years and the case remains unsolved.

don lewis carole baskin husband
Don Lewis' disappearance is still a mystery. Image: Netflix.

However, since the series aired, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister has revealed that two separate experts had concluded that Lewis' will was "100 per cent fraudulent."

Despite this, no legal action could be taken as “the statute of limitations had already expired," he told 10 Tampa Bay.

A detective supervisor has been appointed to the case to handle the leads that have emerged as a result of the show's popularity.

Joe Exotic and his husband are still together.

Despite being arrested just nine months after their wedding, Exotic and his husband Dillon Passage remain strong.


In April, Passage told People, "I’m not going anywhere. Joe was there for me in my darkest moments. I’m not going to just abandon him when he needs support more than anything."

In May he made his way to the White House in a tour bus emblazoned with his husband’s pleading face and the words: “President Trump please pardon Joe Exotic.”

Passage is trying to get 500,000 signatures on a petition to get the president's attention.


Carole Baskin is now selling cat-themed face masks.

To top off the Tiger King news, Baskin is now spending her time selling cat-themed face masks.

With coronavirus shutting down her sanctuary (and newly acquired zoo), the Big Cat Rescue founder is getting creative with her time.


The AUD $15 masks come in two styles - black and leopard print - and Baskin's tagline, "Hey all you cool cats and kittens."

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Feature image: Santa Rosa County Jail/