The Tiger King continues to be a married man.
Ever since “Tiger King: Homicide, Mayhem and Insanity” dropped on Netflix lower than two weeks in the past, viewers have questioned if Joe Unique (whose actual title is Joseph Maldonado-Passage) and his fourth husband, Dillon Passage, are nonetheless collectively.
“We’re nonetheless married,” Passage, 24, stated throughout an unique interview with “Selection Reside!” on Tuesday.
The 57-year-old notorious zoo proprietor is presently serving a 22-year jail sentence after being convicted of 17 counts of animal cruelty in addition to conspiring to have his enterprise nemesis Carole Baskin killed.
“I wasn’t simply going to desert him when he wanted assist as a result of he was there for me,” Passage stated. “I felt it was solely proper to face by him and never decide him for the circumstance as a result of I understood his relationship with Carole. It was a really adverse type of factor and he was in a darkish place when all of these things occurred. He simply wanted help so I used to be simply going to face subsequent to him.”
Passage says he final spoke with Maldonado-Passage final week. “He had obtained tons of and tons of of emails, and he was spending all day on the pc simply going via these emails and making an attempt to answer them,” he stated. “He had individuals from all around the world saying like, ‘Workforce Joe’ [and] ‘Free Joe.’”
Maldonado-Passage, to no shock, is basking within the consideration. “He was actually excited,” Passage stated. “I might speak to him about among the memes that had been made and he simply laughed his butt off. It was hilarious. He cherished it. … He loves the eye, clearly, so any fame or highlight that he has had was vastly appreciated.”
Since their final telephone name, Maldonado-Passage has been transferred from Oklahoma’s Grady County Jail to a federal jail in Texas. Nevertheless, in line with Passage, he was despatched to the jail’s medical facility for a 14-day quarantine due to COVID-19. Passage says he’s nonetheless ready to listen to why, however he doesn’t imagine Maldonado-Passage has coronavirus. Selection confirms he’s within the medical facility, however jail officers can not talk about why he’s there due to HIPAA restrictions.
Passage first met Maldonado-Passage about two years in the past at his Safari Bar. Maldonado-Passage serenaded Passage with a karaoke efficiency of his tune “This Outdated City” earlier than inviting him again to the zoo — a few half-mile from the bar. “I obtained to play with child tigers, which was frickin’ insane,” Passage recalled. He returned the next night after Maldonado-Passage, then working for Oklahoma governor, took him to a Christmas parade. “Then I simply by no means left the zoo,” Passage stated.
Passage was 22 on the time and says he was battling an habit to prescription tablets, particularly Xanax. “Joe helped me get wholesome once more, get me in the appropriate psychological state,” he stated. “I felt alone. I felt like there was going to be no one there for me. Joe made me really feel like there was cause to be alive.”
As for hypothesis concerning the sexualities of Maldonado-Passage’s former husbands John Finlay and the late Travis Maldonado, and their causes for marrying Maldonado-Passage (the doc alleges that the boys had been extra within the medicine Joe could have been offering them than any type of romance), Passage stated, “I’m on no account straight. I’m as homosexual as they are often.”
Passage got here into Maldonado-Passage’s life shortly after Maldonado’s unintentional capturing demise, however “I heard from a number of folks that Travis cherished Joe unconditionally, by no means needed to take his wedding ceremony ring off. He cherished Joe for Joe. He won’t have been homosexual however … you could possibly construct a reference to anyone,” he stated.
“They’d a really sturdy bond in my view, not from first hand, however what I heard and movies I had seen and that weren’t seen within the documentary,” Passage added. As for drug use on the zoo, Passage insists he by no means noticed Maldonado-Passage or anybody else utilizing.
Whereas Passage describes the documentary as “very genuine,” he additionally insisted he had no concept what Maldonado-Passage was allegedly as much as when he was arrested. He described the case as “difficult” and believes Maldonado-Passage didn’t obtain a good trial.
“He’s, sincere to God, a extremely good man and he has good beliefs,” Passage stated. “When individuals need assistance, he’s the primary individual that they name and he doesn’t hesitate to say sure. He’s bailed so many individuals out of jail, he’s gotten them automobiles. He has fed them once they had no meals. I’d come house on a regular basis and folks could be raiding our fridge.”
Passage presently lives in western Florida. He’s a bartender however isn’t working proper now due to enterprise closures within the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Requested what he would do if Maldonado-Passage had been launched from jail tomorrow, Passage stated, “I’d go decide him up and he’d come stay with me the place I’m at [because] that is our home and I’ve our canine. And I believe his most important purpose could be to get his animals again as a result of it was his dream and his brother’s dream to have the zoo and to do one thing. And he spent 15 years doing it — 15-plus years — and his complete life’s work was simply taken away from him like that.”