The “Tiger King” star, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving time in prison for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot against his former rival, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. The duo’s feud was the subject of the immensely popular Netflix documentary series that captivated the public at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just would like to be my own voice for a change, thank you all so very much for the support and love from all around the world,” Joe’s letter begins. "The pandemic is over and now I ask you to ask President Trump to keep his word and look into making this wrong a right and grant me a miricle [sic].”
From there, the letter takes a dark turn as Maldonado-Passage says “my soul is dead” and suggests that all of his friends are too busy being famous off “Tiger King” to care about him in prison. Specifically, he calls out his husband, Dillon Passage.
“I struggle everyday to hold on to what little hope I can find, they keep me locked down 24/7 with no phone, email or commissary and you will never understand the mental abuse this does to a person," he writes. "I don’t even know if I’m married anymore, seems everyone is so busy making money and being famous I don’t get even a letter from Dillon.”
Elsewhere in the letter, Joe writes: “If he has moved on he should tell me, if he hasn’t I am begging to support me, sad to be dumped like a dog in a shelter but that’s how it feels.”
Joe goes on to implore people to stop sending him pictures of Dillon living his life and having fun with friends as it’s having a negative impact on his mental health in prison.
The letter made its way to Dillon, who posted on Instagram that he is still very much committed to the former zookeeper.
“I love Joe and I’m standing by him. The photos that I post on here are a highlight reel of my life… What you don’t see are the hours that I’m alone at home, missing my husband and my friend,” Dillon wrote. “I’ve been writing letters and it is a shame to hear that he isn’t receiving them… I know they limit the amount he can read in a week and I only hope they eventually get to him. Joe, I hope that this reaches you too. Know that I love you and I’m fighting for you everyday.”
Joe’s letter goes on to state that he feels he’s being mistreated in prison. He alleges that he’s not allowed to receive the medical care he needs for various conditions and makes the chilling prediction that he’ll “be dead in 2-3 months.” He also mentions George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked protests across the country, while comparing their respective cases.
“It’s like George Floyd. His message got lost in the riots, my message got abandoned for money and fame, shame on everyone making a buck and you people that think their cool, famous, remember how that knife went in my back, it will go in yours also.”
“Please ladies I’ve done nothing wrong but act a fool to protect my zoo from arson and people hurting my animals. Hear my scream for help,” he concluded the letter.