The debut of the Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness might have endeared audiences to the colorful character of Joe "Exotic" Maldonado-Passage, but one of his former employees recently described him as a "lunatic." There's no denying that the former owner of the G.W. Zoo was endlessly watchable, whether he was running for governor or hosting a web series chronicling his hatred for Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin, but in the wake of the series making Joe Exotic the latest meme to sweep social media, multiple figures involved in the series or connected to it in some way have painted Exotic as a much more malicious figure.
"He has this uncanny ability to meet someone and read them within seconds," former employee Gaylynn Eastwood shared with Fox News. "And kind of — if you have a weak spot, he knows exactly how to use that in his favor to get what he wants from you. I mean, it's uncanny and it's indescribable. You know, this man is a lunatic. He will do anything."
While some of the participants thought the series offered an accurate depiction of the events, Eastwood was disappointed with how the show painted Exotic as an eccentric character instead of a dangerous individual.
"I was very disappointed in how it was presented to me," Eastwood admitted. "They just loaded it with all this sensationalism. They barely touched on anything and kind of left it open to the public just to fill in the blanks."
Some of the more memorable moments from the series involved Exotic's music videos, which were presented as being original songs. Eastwood made it a point to remind the outlet that those, too, were presented inaccurately.
"He was paying for his country music songs," the former employee pointed out. "Someone else was singing them and writing them. And he was paying for those."
Another element of the figure that was largely overlooked was Exotic's racism, with the series director Rebecca Chaiklin previously claiming the he was "categorically racist."
"Yes. Joe is a racist, I would say categorically," Chaiklin shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "He said things when we were filming that were very unsettling.”0comments
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence on 19 different charges, including numerous instances of animal abuse and attempting to have Baskin murdered.
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