The tables were turned in 2019 on roadside zookeeper and Netflix’s Tiger King documentary subject Joe Exotic, who’s now behind bars after (spoilers!) he was found guilty of attempted murder for hire and several counts related to violating the Endangered Species Act. According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, Exotic is now claiming that he has been falsely arrested and that he is “the victim of malicious prosecution and discrimination.” Specifically, Exotic wants $78,840,000 in damages from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service, claiming that they added “generic tiger” to their endangered species list with the sole intent of directly targeting businesses like his. Exotic claims that listing tigers as an endangered species is the equivalent of “stealing my property and promoting an animal rights agenda,” which is rich coming from someone who sings about letting them “run the jungle” and “roam their land.” He bolsters his lawsuit with claims that the government enforcing the statute on him was discriminatory, as he is “an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds.” He’s seeking an addition $15 million for a claim that his former colleagues informed and planted evidence against him, contributing to the death of his mother.
Contrary to Exotic’s claims of a targeted U.S. government conspiracy, tigers are a globally listed “endangered” species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. They have been protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1975. Still, Exotic’s claws are out.