Was Joe Exotic a police officer? Tiger King revealed to be former Texas police chief!

Joe Exotic is undoubtedly one of the most talked-about people in the world right now.

In the few short weeks since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness aired on Netflix, Joe has earned his stripes as one of TV’s most bizarre and baffling personas.

Although the gun-toting, meth-smoking, big cat-loving felon opened his world up to the cameras, much about Joe’s life is still in the dark. So when fans of Joe Exotic learnt that he used to work for the Texas police force, many were in disbelief.

So, was Joe really a police officer? We’ve done some digging to find out more!

Joe Exotic

Who is Joe Exotic?

Joe Exotic, now 57 years old, was born Joseph Allen Schreibvogel in Garden City, Kansas. He later changed his name to Joseph Maldonado-Passage after his 2014 three-way wedding to Travis Maldonado and John Finlay. Joe adopted “Joe Exotic” as his celebrity zookeeper moniker.

When Joe was young, he and his family moved to Texas.

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Joe held a variety of jobs in Texas throughout the ’80s and ’90s. He first started working with animals when he was living in Texas.

Was Joe Exotic a police officer?

Yes. In a piece Louis Theroux wrote about Joe Exotic for The Telegraph, he revealed that Joe was a police officer when he was 19 years old.

Louis Theroux interviewed Joe Exotic back in 2011 for a one-off documentary he filmed called America’s Most Dangerous Pets. Many Tiger King fans have been eagerly awaiting the documentary filmmaker’s opinions on the Netflix series.

Joe Exotic joined the Eastvale, Texas police department right after he left Pilot Point High School in 1982. He worked his way up to become the chief of the small department.


Joe Exotic’s political career

Working as a police officer wasn’t Joe’s only foray into state-led governance, as he has also turned his hand to politics.

Joe Exotic ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 election for President of the United States under the name Joseph Allen Maldonado. He attained ballot access in Colorado and received 962 votes nationwide.

Although this attempt to enter politics was unsuccessful, that did not deters Joe. Two years later, in 2018, Joe Exotic ran for Oklahoma Governor.





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