The real reason Joe Exotic ran for President

The focus of Netflix’s captivating series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, is none other than Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage. It’s difficult to summarize the former owner of Oklahoma’s The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in a few words, but the gist is he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for a variety of wildlife violations and concocting a murder-for-hire plot against his rival, animal activist Carole Baskin. The doc also covers Joe’s five husbands and polygamy, his odd connections to various celebrities, and the equally bizarre cast of characters he associated with, including the controversial Bhagavan “Doc” Antle. 

As if this all wasn’t wild enough, Joe also ran for president as an independent, launching his campaign in November 2015 with a very interesting video shared on his reality TV web series, Joe Exotic TV. And if you’re wondering why the colorful character was inspired to take over the Oval Office, there’s a good chance the answer will raise some eyebrows.

Joe Exotic was done being "terrorized" by the U.S. government

Joe Exotic’s campaign video for president is a lot, to say the least, complete with sad piano music and wild claims about the U.S. government. The clip kicks off with an unknown narrator alleging, against a slide show of wild cat photos, that “there’s a crisis going on nationwide that you might not know about.” The voice then warns that “your rights as an exotic animal owner are being taken away,” noting how the “state of Ohio already has laws prohibiting exotic animal ownership.” As more dramatic images flash across the screen, the narrator claims that “many animals have been stripped from their loving homes and thrown into concrete prisons.” 

After the curious intro ends, Joe appears out of nowhere to rattle off more claims. “This is just not about animals, but swat teams are being moved into people’s homes, and guns pointed at women and children simply over an animal law about people wanting to control animals,” he says before bemoaning the “unjust laws being forced upon” Americans, including “social security of the elderly being cut” and “free welfare being handed out.” The former zookeeper adds, “We’re being terrorized by our own government.”

Spoiler alert: Joe didn’t come close to securing the presidency. However, this didn’t stop him from running for the governor of Oklahoma in 2018, an endeavor that also went nowhere.

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