Joe Exotic -- the eccentric, wild and captivating convict tiger breeder featured in the wildly popular Netflix docuseries 'Tiger King' -- is suing from prison ... claiming a huge conspiracy behind him being locked up, and it led to the death of his mom.
If you've seen the show, you know Joe -- real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- is one of the biggest names in the big cat business. If you haven't seen it ... SPOILERS AHEAD.
Anyway, Exotic ran a popular zoo in Oklahoma until he was found guilty of a murder-for-hire plot in 2019, but according to new legal docs obtained by TMZ ... he claims he was falsely arrested and imprisoned, and the victim of malicious prosecution and discrimination.
But, let's back up, because firstly ... Joe's suing the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service for placing the "generic tiger" on the endangered species list. Exotic claims this was done for the sole purpose of targeting businesses like his, and essentially ... putting him out of business.
As he puts it, this equates to "stealing my property and promoting an animal rights agenda."
Joe also alleges he was "discriminated against because he is the only person charged with this statute because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds."
According to the suit, he wants $78,840,000 for the loss of his personal property and 18 years' worth of his work with tigers for this.
As for his criminal conviction, he's going after a handful of people involved in the case -- including his former business partner, Jeff Lowe, for allegedly lying to the feds and planting evidence against him.
He accuses another former colleague of being an informant and claims the sum of all this contributed to the passing of his mother, Shirley.