“I’m done with the whole Carole Baskin saga,” Exotic told Netflix from prison. “It’s now time to turn the tables, and get Joe out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges.”
Netflix’s quick interview, filmed on 22nd March and shared on Friday, offers Exotic’s first real statement since Tiger King became everyone’s favourite quarantine binge-watch. Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for charges of both animal abuse and a plot to murder Baskin, answered four burning questions from Netflix fans. When asked what he wants viewers to know, he didn’t hesitate.
“Go sit in a cage with your animals for a week,” he said. “When I left the zoo and I sent my chimpanzees to the sanctuary in Florida and imagined what my chimpanzees went through for 18 years, I’m ashamed of myself.”
Exotic also confirmed he is still married to his fourth husband, Dillon Passage. “I can’t thank my husband enough for standing beside me,” he said.
Although this was Exotic’s first interview, other prominent people featured in the series have made their voices heard. Baskin denounced the show, calling it “salacious and sensational” and criticising directors and writers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin for insinuating that she played a role in her husband’s disappearance. Exotic’s ex-husband, John Finlay, also seemed unhappy with his on-screen portrayal, and created a Facebook account to share his side of the story. But according to Passage, Exotic is thrilled by the response to the show.
“He had received hundreds and hundreds of emails, and he was spending all day on the computer just going through these emails and trying to respond to them,” Passage told Variety. He added that, when he last spoke to Exotic, he shared some of the Tiger King-related memes circulating online. “He loved it. He loves the attention, obviously, so any fame or spotlight that he has had was greatly appreciated.”
Exotic echoed this thought in his interview with Netflix. But, he added, “it would be nice if I could actually see me being famous out there.”
Finally, Exotic answered one question Netflix didn’t even ask: will prison change the attitude and off-the-walls energy he brought to Tiger King?
“When I walk out of here, am I going to be as crazy as I was before?” He laughed. “That will never change.”