Joe Exotic from ‘Tiger King’ Fails to Receive Presidential Pardon, Despite Online Campaign


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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Despite a largely publicized campaign to receive an 11th-hour pardon from Presidential Trump, Joe Exotic and his legal team found themselves frustrated when the outgoing president’s pardon list was made public on Wednesday morning, hours before President Biden’s inauguration.

Yes, that Joe Exotic, the focal point of Netflix’s 2020 documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which focused on the significant and at times surreal drama that Exotic got himself into over the years.

As documented in the Netflix series, Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) was sentenced in January 2020 to 20 years in prison for various misdeeds, ranging from violating federal wildlife laws, killing five tigers, and falsifying wildlife records to his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot centered around his chief zookeeping rival, Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

For months, he and his team had been quite vocally advocating for a presidential pardon, a campaign that took on more visibility as the Tiger King show reached its apex of popularity. His legal team felt so confident in the chances of receiving a pardon that a huge stretch limo was waiting outside the Texas prison in case the news came down in their favor:

But … no pardon came. Exotic’s legal team reacted on Facebook:

And in light of that news, Joe Exotic (and/or his team) posted a message of frustration on social media Wednesday afternoon, directed at Trump and the whole situation:

Carole Baskin, meanwhile, told BuzzFeed that she is “breathing a sigh of relief”:

“I think only Joe’s team and the media were ever even thinking about a pardon for Joe,” she said.

“There is no benefit, other than a feeble attempt to deflect attention, for anyone to pardon someone who walked up to five tigers and shot them in the head in order to clear cage space for the circus, who was going to pay him to board their tigers during the offseason,” she said. “Tigers are the world’s favorite animal and Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage is right where he belongs: in a cage.”


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