In news that will delight and terrify people in equal measure, Joe Exotic could be a step closer to clawing out of his cage.
President Trump has said he’ll “look at” a request for a pardon from Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, the controversial star of the ridiculously popular Netflix series Tiger King.
When asked about the pardon request by a reporter at the New York Post, Trump said:
I’ll take a look.
The president’s eldest son Donald Jr has joked about lobbying for his father to pardon Exotic “for the memes”.
It’s not really a laughing matter though, given that the former zookeeper is serving a 22-year prison sentence for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot targeting animal-rights activist Carole Baskin and mistreating animals.
After Trump was asked about his son's remarks, the exchange went as follows....
Which son? Must be Don – what did he do?
I know nothing about it … he has 22 for what? What did he do?
After the NY Post reporter explained what the “big cat” enthusiast was sent to prison for, Trump asked:
Do you think he didn’t do it?
Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?
He then asked the other journalists in the room, asking:
Would you recommend a pardon?
In news that would only seem at home in this strange tale (and this very bizarre year), Exotic issued a call for a pardon from Trump and announced a $9m lawsuit against the federal government 19 March on his Facebook page. This comes after Netflix said that Tiger King drew 34.3 million unique viewers in the first 10 days since its 20 March release, beating previous record-holder Stranger Things 2.