In the lead up to President Trump’s final days in office, there was a lot of speculation around potential federal pardons and who he might hand them out to. One of the names repeatedly floated was Tiger King lead Joe Exotic. Unfortunately for the reality star, however, the list of nearly 150 people dropped, and he was not on it. Never one to keep his thoughts to himself, the reality star took to Twitter to talk about what happened and explain why he thinks he didn’t get pardoned.
Even by Joe Exotic standards, the post dropped on an account alleged to belong to the Tiger King is pretty juicy. In it, he calls out Donald Trump Jr, says he was used for social media boosting and claims he’s “too innocent” and “too gay” to deserve a pardon. You can check out the whole tweet below…
Joe Exotic, or Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage as he’s legally known, became a local celebrity in Oklahoma where he owned a zoo, unsuccessfully ran for Governor and put on various animal shows. He was eventually tried and convicted on murder for hire and animal abuse charges after a multi-year feud with the owner of a animal sanctuary named Carole Baskin with her own shady backstory. The subsequent Netflix documentary, called Tiger King, became a cultural phenomenon and shot everyone involved to immediate fame.
Riding the incredible publicity, Joe Exotic publicly called for his own release, and his team of lawyers went to Washington DC to petition for a pardon. Donald Trump Jr seemed to be receptive to at least listening and mentioned the case on social media, and his lawyers even hired a limousine to take him home when the pardon came through. Unfortunately it never did and now both Exotic himself and Tiger King fans are wondering what happened, especially after President Trump pardoned several other high profile individuals including Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.
Exotic was arrested in September of 2018 and eventually sentenced to 22 years in prison after one of his acquaintances turned government informant and recorded him talking about hiring a hitman to murder Baskin. He claims he never followed through with the money and was just talking. The government obviously disagreed.
Even if he gets out for good behavior, he could be looking at another decade or more behind bars and may not be released until he’s in his 70s or even 80s. No doubt that’s torture for a natural showman like Exotic who loves the stage and attention. He would have absolutely cherished his newfound celebrity status and found his way onto every talk show imaginable. Instead, most of those appearances have gone to his longtime rival Carole Baskin, though he can at least take solace in the fact that her run on Dancing With The Stars only resulted in a fourteenth place finish.