The star of the extremely popular Netflix docu-series “Tiger King,” Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka “Joe Exotic,” was recently transferred from a county jail in Oklahoma to a federal prison in Texas, following his January sentencing, Entertainment Tonight reports.
Following the move, many outlets were reporting that the former zookeeper and entertainer had tested positive for COVID-19. Some were even claiming he had been hospitalized, Snopes reports.
In reality, Exotic had been placed under quarantine upon his arrival at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, reports the New York Post. This was done out of an abundance of caution as there were reports of other inmates at the Grady County Jail in Oklahoma carrying the virus, Exotic’s husband, Dillon Passage, told Andy Cohen on Cohen’s radio show.
After rumors started circulating that Exotic himself was infected with COVID-19, a post was made on his public Facebook page, run by Passage while Exotic is incarcerated, declaring “Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he’s in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another facility.”
Undergoing a 14-day quarantine is now standard procedure for new or transferring prisoners, regardless if a case has been found in their previous facility, CNN reports. While under quarantine, prisoners are more confined to their cells than normal. Passage has not spoken with Exotic since he was transferred, Yahoo! News reports.
The 57-year-old was convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire plot, nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act and eight counts of violating the Lacey Act, and is serving a 22-year sentence, according to the Denver Channel.