Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness star Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldanado-Passage) has not contracted the coronavirus, his husband, Dillon Passage, has confirmed. The former exotic zookeeper had recently been moved to the medical center of a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas following his transfer from an Oklahoma facility, where several inmates had tested positive for the virus.
"He does not have COVID-19 but at the previous facility he was at, there were multiple cases," Passage told Entertainment Tonight. "So when he got moved, I think it was just like a safety precaution for this new facility in Fort Worth. To just keep him isolated just in case he did have it so he wasn't gonna pass it on to anybody else."
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for a murder-for-hire plot targeting Carole Baskin as well as violating the Endangered Species Act and falsifying wildlife records. In late March, it was reported that he had been placed in quarantine after being transferred to Texas from Oklahoma's Grady County Jail. It was later confirmed that he had been moved to the facility's medical center, though officials with the FMC Fort Worth could not reveal further information regarding his health, stating that "this information is not public." A post on Exotic's Facebook page, however, refuted claims that he had tested positive.
"Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he's in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another facility," the post read, adding the address fans can use to send him mail. "He won't be able to read or answer you back unless any of you who wish to communicate via email puts money into his commissary."
A subsequent post shared on April 6 informed fans that the Tiger King star was "still under precautionary quarantine" and was therefore unable to "respond to the many emails he received before he was transferred." The post promised that Exotic would "get his new email set up and send out posts" as soon as possible.
It remains unclear how much longer Exotic will remain in quarantine. The move comes as a precautionary measure, with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reporting that 253 federal inmates and 85 BOP staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. There have been 8 federal inmate deaths.
For his part, Exotic seems to be filling his time by reveling in his newfound fame. He was launched back into the spotlight following the March 20 debut of the Netflix docuseries, and he's not holding onto some hope that he will be pardoned. After requesting a pardon, President Donald Trump told reporters that he "will take a look."