Joe Exotic, the former Oklahoma zookeeper who became a social media sensation following the release of Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries in March 2020, believes his prostate cancer may have spread to other parts of his body. Although Exotic first opened up about his cancer diagnosis in May, he told The Sun in his latest health update that he has not received any treatment and has “been waiting for a colonoscopy and endoscopy since October.” Currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for plotting to kill his rival Carole Baskin and for 17 federal charges of animal abuse, Exotic, real name Joseph Maldano-Passage, said “medical treatment in a prison is worse than at any humane society for dogs” as he expressed fears his cancer has spread.
According to Exotic, 58, he is “losing weight all the time” and has been experiencing “pain in my hip.” Exotic said his “pelvis hurts,” his “stomach has hurt for over a year,” the pain is so intense when he urinates that he vomits, and he limps when he walks. Amid his deteriorating health, Exotic recently underwent a CT scan in an effort to identity the problem, and prison medics “are concerned it is in my stomach and pelvis.” Exotic told the outlet that while he has “not had any treatment or anything since May,” he hopes to be taken to a specialist medical center for “many tests,” including a “biopsy of my prostate and bladder, colonoscopy and endoscopy.” However, Exotic said he will refuse medical treatment if the disease has progressed to stage three or four, explaining, “when we find out where and how bad it is I will decide if I am going to do treatment. If it’s stage three or four I am going to let it take me.”
Exotic revealed in May that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. In a series of tweets, the Tiger King star said he received his diagnosis after his PSA, or prostate-specific antigens, “came back very high for prostate cancer.” At the time, Exotic said his body was tired and he was experiencing a number of side effects as a result of the cancer. He went on to call on President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the Attorney General to “sign that pardon that Trump left behind so I can go home and get proper medical care and proper food.” Trump notably left Exotic out of his presidential pardons during his final days in office despite Exotic’s many pleas for an early release.
While Biden has made no indication of pardoning Exotic, the Tiger King subject did recently get some good news. In July, a federal appeals court ordered Exotic be resentenced in the murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin. The court said an error when the prison term was imposed made the guidelines longer than they should have been, as the two murder-for-hire counts should have been grouped together when calculating sentencing. In a statement, Brandon Sample, an appellate lawyer for Exotic, said, “I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe — and his eventual freedom.”