President Trump will 'take a look' at pardoning Tiger King Joe Exotic

When asked by a reporter, the president didn't seem familiar with the Netflix hit or its mulleted star.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Will President Trump pardon Joe Exotic, aka the Tiger King?

Courtesy Netflix

The Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has been a huge hit for the streaming service. But its star, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is still serving time in Texas after being convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire as well as other charges. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was asked about whether he'd consider pardoning the former wild-animal-park owner, who is serving a 22-year sentence, and he didn't exactly say no.

"Your son yesterday jokingly said that he was going to advocate for (a pardon)," New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked Trump, referring to statements Donald Trump Jr. made on Monday. The president didn't appear to know about either the show or his son's request, asking, "Which son? Must be Don. I had a feeling it was Don."

Trump admitted he knew "nothing about (Tiger King)," and joked with reporters, asking if they thought Joe Exotic should be pardoned, and finally said, "I'll take a look," before moving on to a coronavirus question.

Exotic's husband, Dillon Passage, recently told SiriusXM radio host Andy Cohen that Exotic was recently moved to a different facility where he was put in isolation because other inmates at his previous location had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

According to the New York Post, Exotic was moved from Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma, to the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Although the center wouldn't comment to the newspaper on Exotic's own health, a Facebook post dated April 2 on his personal page says, "Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he's in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another facility."

Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he’s in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another...

Posted by Joseph A Maldonado-Passage on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Whether Trump ends up examining Exotic's case, Tiger King mania hasn't subsided. There are rumors that Netflix is making a new episode of the series (the network would not confirm this), and a miniseries starring SNL star Kate McKinnon as Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, is on the way.