GUESS WHAT, MOTHERF*CKERS!!! Our Tiger King, Joseph Maldonado-Passage—or, as he is known to the world, Joe Exotic—may have contracted coronavirus in prison. At least, if you believe what the Daily Mirror reports, then he has. (And if you believe that, I’ve got a tiger cub to sell you.) This, the Mirror claims, is based on a site called Texomashomepage.com, which reported that Joe was transferred to a prison medical center after “multiple fellow inmates at the jail where he was being held tested positive for the coronavirus.” Cosmo UK also reported that Joe was hospitalized for coronavirus.
However, other, more legit outlets are also reporting on the news, and the story they have to tell is slightly different. On Wednesday, Dillon told Andy Cohen on his Sirius XM radio show that “they are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases.” Dillon did not tell Andy whether or not Joe had tested positive. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Mr. Exotic was transferred to FMC Fort Worth in Texas, which is a medical center in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. Vulture echoed this report, clarifying, “Joe Exotic was transferred to a prison medical center from coronavirus isolation.” So while it doesn’t sound like business as usual, it doesn’t really mean that Joe was hospitalized for COVID-19.
However, a staffer at the Oklahoma jail in which Joe is serving a 22-year sentence claimed that the jail had no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. And the Oklahoman was informed by Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks, “There are no COVID-19 cases in the Grady County Jail, at this time,” adding, “The jail’s taking all the precautions that they’re supposed to.”
Furthermore, the Okhahoman reports, “the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported in March that all new asymptomatic inmates were being placed in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days or until cleared by medical staff.”
The Mirror’s initial headline read, “Tiger King star Joe Exotic hospitalised after contracting coronavirus in prison.” However, they have since seemed to walk it back to: “Tiger King‘s Joe Exotic hospitalised and could have caught coronavirus in prison.” Hmm.
So, does Joe Exotic have coronavirus? Or was he just placed under a mandatory quarantine as a precaution? It’s honestly unclear at this point, but the latter seems more likely. What does seem clear is this looks like a classic case of the Mirror being the Mirror, making up clickbait and then walking it back. And I fell for it. Damn it.
But I’ll tell ya who gave it to him if he does have it: CAROLE F*CKIN’ BASKIN.
Images: Netflix; The Daily Mirror