After a federal court judge awarded Joe Exotic’s former zoo Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park to his nemesis Carole Baskin earlier this week, the management team of the controversial Tiger King star posted a couple of tweets and released an official statement condemning the ruling.
On Monday ― the same day U.S. District Judge Scott L. Palk ordered that the zoo be turned over to Baskin following a ruling in favor of her Big Cat Rescue Corporation in a 2016 lawsuit against the Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC ― Exotic’s team tweeted that Baskin taking over Exotic’s previously owned zoo is a “tragedy.”
Carole Baskin taking my zoo is a tragedy. And we'll get to that. But today is a day to stand in solidarity with those that have been hurt, killed, and worse because they're standing up for what they believe in. Stay strong. #blackouttuesday pic.twitter.com/IB0hMVDl5c
— Joe Exotic (@joe_exotic) June 2, 2020
In a follow-up tweet the following day, Exotic’s team said that “Baskin has stolen the zoo while Joe is helpless behind bars.”
It is a dark day in history when someone takes a man's life's work while the world isn't looking. Carole Baskin has stolen the Zoo while Joe is helpless behind bars and the world is trying to fix the brokenness in our police departments. Help us, please. https://t.co/oI7IDNkbWq pic.twitter.com/ItyKxYdl8b
— Joe Exotic (@joe_exotic) June 3, 2020
And though Exotic’s team acknowledged that there are bigger issues that need more urgent attention right now, they believed that they must address Baskin’s “treachery before it goes unchecked.”
While we again acknowledge it is truly time to pray for justice for George Floyd’s family as well as an end to systemic racism in America, we must address Carol Baskin’s treachery before it goes unchecked. Click for Joe’s official statement https://t.co/EUgXQJgnad pic.twitter.com/oIoLaMmP8G
— Joe Exotic (@joe_exotic) June 4, 2020
In a lengthier statement posted on the Help Free Joe website, which primarily serves as a petition to help free Exotic, the tiger breeder’s team called the ruling “yet another emotional blow to an already fragile Joe, who has spent the past 3 straight months in solitary confinement.” Refusing to accept defeat, Exotic’s team revealed that his lawyers are already filing appeals.
“Our single goal is Joe’s freedom. Joe cannot fight something from solitary confinement imposed to suppress his rights,” Exotic’s legal team said. “We are focused on justice for Joe and that means a pardon that gets him out of jail and able to set the record straight.”
In the lawsuit in question, big-cat rights activist Baskin claimed that Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, fraudulently transferred the ownership of the zoo to his mother Shirley Schreibvogel in a bid to evade creditors. The court order that awarded Baskin the control of the zoo gave her a 16-acre land in Garvin County, Oklahoma, as well as several cabins and vehicles.
The zoo’s current owner, Jeff Lowe, whom Exotic gave “ownership” of the zoo in 2016 in an effort to ward off Baskin’s lawsuit, was ordered vacate the premises within 120 days of the order and remove all the animals as well.