'Tiger King' Joe Exotic tortured animals in his zoo and filmed people performing sex acts on them, niece alleges

Leveling a number of allegations against Exotic, Chealsi Putman said, “In the ‘Tiger King’ Netflix series, you can see glimpses of his evil persona but in real-life Joe is 100 times worse. I want people to know who the real Joe Exotic is, not the one you've seen on TV”

'Tiger King' Joe Exotic tortured animals in his zoo and filmed people performing sex acts on them, niece alleges
Joe Exotic (IMDb)
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Joe Exotic, the subject of the Netflix true-crime documentary series ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ is allegedly worse than how the show portrays him. The niece of the controversial mullet-sporting flamboyant polyamorous star of the docu-series, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for 17 counts of animal cruelty and for conspiring to murder his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin, has made some startling allegations about the depths of his cruelty.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail, Chealsi Putman said, “In the ‘Tiger King’ Netflix series, you can see glimpses of his evil persona but in real-life Joe is 100 times worse. I want people to know who the real Joe Exotic is, not the one you've seen on TV.”

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Putman, whose mother is Joe's youngest sister, in the interview, revealed how she helped the FBI catch her uncle when he was on the run in Florida. Putman reportedly did odd jobs for her uncle -- cleaning the animal cages, running the cash register and bookkeeping, working on and off from 1999 until 2017.

“Our relationship was up and down, mainly because I wouldn't put up with his bulls**t,” she said. “I've personally witnessed Joe spray a tiger with a fire extinguisher, not out of safety or for a life-saving reason, but because the tiger didn't react the way Joe had wanted it to.”

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She accused Joe of selling countless baby tigers illegally. “He would either take cash under the table for the sale of the tiger or if someone sent a check, it would be made out to another person, or if the money was wired to a store, it would be in another person's name. Joe always attempted to distance himself from any illegal activity, but he had no problem involving his employees in it.”

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She further said that when a tiger cub would die, Joe would freeze it, saying he was involved in research with Texas A&M University, adding that she never saw any evidence of that. Putman believes he sold them to private individuals, taxidermists, to get stuffed. “Over the years there must have been at least 10 tiger cubs that he froze. I have no idea what happened to them, they would just disappear.”

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And not just tigers, Putnam alleged that Joe also sold baby monkeys. “A few years ago, at the zoo, we had a monkey who just had a baby, Joe wanted to take the baby monkey away from its mother so he could sell it. The mother monkey naturally wouldn't let Joe take the baby away from her so he decided to ‘dart’ the mother monkey.”

Putman added, “He was going to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the mother monkey so he could take the newborn baby away from her. Joe shot one dart into the monkey, but after a few minutes the tranquilizer hadn't worked, so he shot another dart into the mother, and another. He shot a total of five darts into the mother until she dozed off so he could pry the baby monkey away from its arms. I was disgusted by his actions, he's lucky the mother monkey didn't die.”

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The list doesn’t, unfortunately, end there. Putman claimed there were videos of people performing sex acts on some of the animals at the zoo. “I didn't want to see them, I just heard about them,” she said. 

Since the release of the documentary, Joe Exotic’s popularity has risen to cult status. Controversial figures have always found fan followings -- just look at Ma Anand Sheela, Indian-born American-Swiss convicted criminal and former spokeswoman of the Rajneesh movement, who turned into a global icon after the Netflix documentary series ‘Wild Wild Country’. Joe’s popularity is similar. 

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People are trying to pay homage to his eccentric look. Even celebrities. Dax Shepherd and Chris Brown photoshopped themselves onto Joe’s body. Chrissy Teigen photoshopped her son Miles' face on his photo. Sylvester Stallone and his whole family had an entire ‘Tiger King’ costume party while being quarantined at home. Jared Leto cosplayed him. And Cardi B pledged to start a GoFundMe for Joe.

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But in view of the allegations made against the man, is it prudent to “stan” Joe Exotic just because it is cool? If what Putman claims is true, then people ought to distance themselves as far as possible from the convict -- let alone cosplay him or start funds for him.

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