If you’ve spent any time on social media in recent weeks, then you’re probably aware that there are really only two topics of conversation these days — the coronavirus and Tiger King.
The two big news items of the 2020s collided last month with reports that Tiger King star Joe Exotic has been placed in COVID-19 isolation in the federal prison he now calls home.
Many media outlets falsely reported that Exotic had tested positive for the coronavirus, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
In a new interview with Andy Cohen, Exotic’s husband, Dillon Passage, confirmed that the incarcerated former zoo proprietor has not tested positive for the coronavirus, but was merely isolated as a precaution.
“We speak like three to five times every day, but [not] since he’s been moved to this new facility," Passage said.
"They are putting him on a COVID-19 isolation because of the previous jail he was at, there were cases.”
A message on Joe’s Facebook page confirmed the negative diagnosis:
"Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he’s in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another facility," read the status update.
A second, even more shocking report about Joe’s health has made the rounds in recent weeks, as several sources have claimed that Exotic is being treated for AIDS, which he contracted during his first marriage.
(Exotic was married to Brian Rhyne from 1986 until Rhyne’s death from HIV complications in 2001.)
In a second interview with Variety (Passage is highly in demand these days), the 24-year-old confirmed that Joe has been "moved to a medical facility in Fort Worth, Texas."
He adds that he has not spoken with Joe since his transfer.
"As far as I know, he was placed in a medical facility, and there was a possibility that he would be placed on a 14-day quarantine," Passage told Variety.
As scary as that may sound, Passage says he believes there’s currently no cause for concern.
The relocation was reportedly a precautionary move resulting from Joe’s earlier incarceration at a facility where coronavirus cases were detected.
Insiders say Joe has received the best medical care possible during his 18 months behind bars, and blood tests performed during his incarceration would have indicated if Exotic was HIV positive.
So we guess one rumor that’s been haunting Joe for 19 years can finally be put to rest.
Which is good, because there’s a whole lot more where that came from.
After his marriage to Rhyne, Joe entered a relationship with J.P. Hartpence, who was later imprisoned for child molestation and murder.
That relationship also wasn’t featured in the Netflix doc, which picks up with Exotic’s polygamous marriage to John Finlay and Travis Maldonado.
Will Joe’s past be prominently featured in the new episode of Tiger King, which is expected to be released in the next week?
We have no way of knowing, but Passage says he has no involvement with the new footage.