It all makes sense now.
Joe Exotic ran for governor of Oklahoma as a Libertarian, and while that political doctrine is oriented toward maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of government in people’s lives, it has its limits. According to David Boaz’ Libertar-ianism: A Primer, a true libertarian believes that “each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.”
Well, if a federal indictment handed down against Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage is a true indicator of Exotic’s Libertarian viewpoint, he missed the “equal rights of others” part on his way to allegedly hiring someone to kill a woman in Florida.
The indictment reports than Exotic, who formerly operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and collects facial piercings and vivid bleach jobs in his spare time, paid an unnamed person $3,000 to go to Texas and obtain a fake ID before traveling to Florida to kill the woman in question. Before we go farther with this, let’s be clear that the “unnamed” person indeed has a name and isn’t like a horse in a crappy old America song from the ’70s. This person is probably not named because she or he is a cooperating witness, which is something the CFN team learned from living in the United States for the past two years.
The target of Exotic’s alleged murder-for-hire ire is not named in the indictment, but NewsOK reported that Carole Baskin, operator of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, believes she was the target. Baskin and Exotic have sparred for years over the proper care of wild animals, a recurring problem for Exotic, but also because Baskin successfully sued Exotic in 2013 for $1 million for infringing on Baskin’s logo and image designs. So, if you’ve ever been driving down Interstate 35 and a Joe Exotic billboard made you want to get sauced and play with 100 jungle cats in Garvin County, Baskin gets some of the credit thanks to purloined iconography.
Exotic was arrested in — we kid you not — Gulf Breeze, Florida, on the two counts of murder-for-hire. One was for an alleged attempt in July 2016, so he’s allegedly been working this angle for a while. CFN has yet to confirm whether Exotic was arrested while wearing a zebra-patterned G-string and riding a Bengal tiger through a local Bubba Gump franchise, but that’s how we picture it.
“Jeez,” said the lead moderator of Chicken-Fried News’ monthly book club. “This sounded like the plot of a Carl Hiassen novel even before the indictment mentioned Florida.”