Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic and Tiger King, is running his 2024 presidential campaign from prison. He is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2019 for a murder-for-hire plot and various wildlife charges.
He said: “Thank you for your interest in my Campaign. Yes, I know I am in Federal Prison and you might think this is a joke but it’s not. It is my Constitutional right to do this even from here.
“So put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more than one boyfriend at once and that Carole hates my guts. This all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice.
“The best thing you have going for supporting me is that I am used to fighting my whole life just to get by. I am broke, they have taken everything I ever worked for away, and it’s time we take this country back.”
His website bio says:
“Joseph Allen Maldonado, known professionally as “Joe Exotic” and “The Tiger King” is an American media personality, businessman, former chief of police, magician, musician, model, actor, minister, politician, and world-renowned animal expert.
Joseph A Maldonado “Schreibvogel” was born in Garden City Kansas in 1963 where he lived and grew up on a farm until the age of 13. Joe was very active in 4-H where he was the president of his local chapter and won several awards in parliamentary procedures.
In 1976, Joe’s family sold the Kansas farm and moved to a large cattle ranch in Centennial Wyoming where Joe joined the volunteer fire department at the age of 14 and was involved in fighting many forest fires.
Moving on with his parents, who at this time raised race horses, his family bought a horse ranch in Pilot Point Texas in 1980 and Joe finished his last two years of high school.
Moving from Wyoming to Texas, Joe had enough credits to graduate early and attended Cooke County College during his last year of high school. Joe became an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and volunteered on a local ambulance service.
At the age of 19, Joe’s life took a huge turn in the professional world, owning his own ambulance service and joining the police force in Eastvale Texas. Texas law at that time allowed you to be a police officer for one year before you had to complete the police academy and, before that year was up, Joe was appointed Police Chief and went through the academy as the youngest Police Chief in Texas history.
Soon after, his family found out that he was gay and his father made him shake his hand and promise not to come to his funeral. Upset and depressed, he drove his police car into a bridge and suffered critical injuries. He went to Florida for salt water therapy and had a neighbor who owned exotic animals.
He often let Joe play with them. That was when he discovered the unconditional healing love of animals and it became his destiny. After he recovered, he moved back to Texas and opened a pet store with his brother, Garold “GW”, in Arlington. In 1997, Garold was killed by a drunk driver on the highway while moving their sister out of state.
Joe promised that he would keep his brother’s memory alive, so he and his parents started the Garold Wayne Memorial Animal Park “GW Zoo” in Wynnewood, OK. He and his husband, Brian, managed the park and rescued any animals that were unwanted, abused, or abandoned. The park grew and prospered, but Brian passed away in 2002 from an illness.
Joe continued to rescue animals, performing with a traveling magic show in malls across the Midwest during the slow season to help feed the animals. Eventually, he started breeding tigers and produced the first male liliger in the world. He partnered with Texas A&M University’s genetic research dept. and became the biggest breeder of tigers in the world. This earned him the nickname “Tiger King.”
He produced many music videos about his life and a YouTube live show every night for his followers and even filmed some documentaries and a reality show at the park. During this time he was struggling to keep the park going because animal rights activists, such as PeTA, were harassing him constantly, along with Carole Baskin, who ran a sanctuary for big cats in Florida.
They believed his traveling show and cub petting at the zoo was harmful for the animals, but Joe believed he was helping to keep the species from going extinct by breeding and raising awareness about their vanishing habitat. Eventually, Joe sold the zoo due to mounting debts and got set up by the government, with the help of some family members, so-called friends, and his own business partner, who hatched a plan together to get him arrested and sent to federal prison for crimes he did not commit.
Joe seeks to run for President of the United States of America to give a voice back to the people who make up this great country.
Politicians and lobbyists have too much control over everyone’s lives and rights; he thinks it is time to change this. He believes that if you own your own property and pay taxes on it, the government should not have a right to tell you what you can do on that property.
Since experiencing the corruption on the inside first-hand, he is also passionate about criminal justice reform. Joe is a Libertarian and believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans. Vote for Joe and help him break the chains of government corruption and greed that hold our citizens captive and give the rights back to the people, where they belong.
"Tiger King" announces 2024 presidential bid https://t.co/xPGrusrZIu pic.twitter.com/vNSehnJJX6
— The Hill (@thehill) March 15, 2023
#JUSTIN 'Tiger King' announces 2024 presidential bid https://t.co/eG34FZgFTx
— WGN Morning News (@WGNMorningNews) March 15, 2023