Entertainment

Tiger King star & PETA in legal battle over Joe Exotic Halloween costume

by Michael Gwilliam

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Jeff Lowe from the hit Netflix series 'Tiger King' is getting into a heated legal spat with PETA over a Halloween costume of Joe Exotic being sold on their website.

In May, PETA began selling an expensive Halloween costume titled “Joe Exotic, Tiger Killer.” The costume features a mullet wig, mustache and an orange jail jumpsuit, a reference to Joe Exotic’s prison sentence.

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PETA’s description of the $159.99 outfit reads, “Netflix's docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness glossed over Joe Exotic's cruelty to animals, but PETA's spoof Halloween costume makes clear that ‘Mr. Mullet’ belongs behind bars, where he can no longer harm a tuft of fur on any animal's head.”

“We hope everyone will be out and about by Halloween, so this one-of-a-kind costume is available for preorder now. It comes with everything you need to portray the notorious tiger abuser: a blond wig, a mustache, jail bars, a plush pouncing tiger, and an orange jumpsuit with the more apt moniker ‘Tiger Killer’ on the front.”

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Jeff Lowe from Tiger King
YouTube/ET
Tiger King's Jeff Lowe is furious at PETA for a Joe Exotic costume.

While this may seem a bit bizarre to begin with, the costume doesn’t sit well with Jeff Lowe, one of the show’s stars.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Lowe’s attorney James D. Sullivan sent PETA a cease and desist letter.

The letter claims the costume utilizes “unauthorized proprietary rights to the ‘Joe Exotic’ and ‘Tiger King’ names,” which Lowe happens to own.

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Joe Exotic's mugshot
Santa Rose County Jail
Joe Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in jail.

“PETA’s unauthorized use has damaged and adversely impacted by client’s proprietary interests,” the letter states.

However, PETA’s attorney Jeffrey S. Kerr isn’t backing down. In his rebuttal, Kerr wrote that the letter was “absurd.”

“[The] costume is an obvious parody protected under trademark law and constitutes fair comment and reporting under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Kerr explained. “We suggest Mr. Lowe focus instead on his serious legal problems in Nevada, Oklahoma and elsewhere, including the numerous recent federal Animal Welfare Act violations perpetrated against endangered big cats at his greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.”

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We’ll have to wait and see how this situation develops, but as of this moment, neither side appears to be backing down.