The Real Reason Joe Exotic Faked Having Cancer

If we know anything for sure, it's that Joe "Exotic" Maldonado-Passage isn't the most reliable narrator. Some might even argue he was a conman who embellished facts to suit his ambitions, like when he faked his music career. So yeah, keeping things truthful was not necessarily Joe's strong suit. 

Journalist Robert Moor, who has covered much of Joe's time at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, also has a podcast called Joe Exotic: Tiger King, a project highlighting especially odd details about the former zookeeper. Moor even gives details that might be new to Netflix fans, and the podcast paints an even more chaotic picture of Joe than Tiger King did, which might seem impossible.

Moor alleges that Joe, who had a larger-than-life personality, was constantly pushing the limits of his business and could hardly keep up with the finances required to make the G.W. Zoo function. Then once the trademark infringement lawsuit from animal activist Carole Baskin became a reality (Joe was ordered to pay $1 million), the former zookeeper often complained about being broke. 

As for how Joe attempted to solve his financial woes? Well, Moor claims the polygamist faked cancer in an attempt to profit off of fans.

Did Joe Exotic fake cancer?

Robert Moor, the journalist who covered Joe "Exotic" Maldonado-Passage in 2019 for New York Magazine, created a podcast about Joe called Joe Exotic: Tiger King, that explores the shady ways Joe supposedly made money. Just one example? Look no further than this graphic photo of Joe the journalist shared via Twitter, which shows the controversial zookeeper in the hospital. "For a long time, Joe told everyone he was dying from prostate & bone marrow cancer," Moor alleged about the shot. "He raised $$$ from his Facebook fans for his expenses."

Moor claimed Joe never had cancer, stating, "I later learned he just had an infected prostate, dehydration, & a bad outbreak of herpes."

Despite the alleged phoniness of his diagnosis, Moor described in the podcast how Joe once placed an urgent call to his TV producer, Rick Kirkham, claiming he was "dying" in the hospital of prostate cancer. However, Kirkham insinuated Joe just wanted the opportunity to be filmed lying in a hospital bed, complete with an "IV in his arm and tubes in his nose." The producer recalled the Kansas native asking whether cameras were rolling before he allegedly rattled off this dramatic speech, "I don't know how much longer I've got, but you know until my dying breath, I'm going to take care of these exotic animals like I promised ya."

So did Joe have cancer or not? We have a feeling that's a question that will never fully be answered.