Joe Exotic Doesn’t Deserve a Presidential Pardon

Imagine saying these words to a time traveler from 1998: Joe Exotic doesn’t deserve to be pardoned by President Trump. President Trump? Joe Exotic? Wild terms, Right? Well, in 2021, just about anything could happen after a tumultuous four years in the United States. Let’s unpack this crazy headline. 

All of this madness started in March 2020, a simpler time, when America was in its first phase of quarantine. We were all working from home, making whipped coffee and banana bread, having zoom parties — life was good. Until, Netflix dropped its now infamous docu-series, Tiger King. According to Nielsen, the premier ratings data firm, 34.3 million viewers watched Tiger King within the first 10 days of its release, making it one of Netflix’s biggest hits of all time.

A deadly divide

While it seems like everyone and their mother has watched the now infamous series, here’s a brief refresher. The series centers around the world of privately owned big cat zoos, and the rivalry between Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and Florida woman Carole Baskin, who runs a center aimed at rehabilitating big cats from captivity. The two make digs at each other from across the country, eventually culminating in Joe Exotic hiring a hitman to try and kill Carole Baskin, resulting in his arrest and subsequent jail time, a 22-year sentence for animal cruelty and the plotting of Baskin’s murder. 

joe exotic

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Personality won’t cut it

But what made this story so captivating was Joe Exotic’s eccentric life. Having described himself as a redneck “queerer than a three dollar bill,” Joe’s personal life also took center stage. Having been in a polygamist gay marriage, along with his bleach blonde mullet and sequin shirts, America fell in love with this convicted criminal. However, he’s still a criminal, despite our obsession with his eccentricities. 

Despite his love for Trump and past political ventures, the former president still didn’t include Joe Exotic in the slew of pardons he granted just before leaving office on Jan. 20 to 21. Joe’s legal team was so confident he’d receive a coveted pardon that they even sent a limo to wait outside of the prison to celebrate his release. This, however, didn’t happen. In a tweet responding to not being pardoned, Joe said he was “too innocent and too GAY” to receive a pardon. 

Joe Exotic isn’t innocent, and his 15 minutes of fame are not enough to warrant the pardoning of his crimes. And whichever side of the Exotic/Baskin feud you stand on, just remember that one is still sitting in prison while the other was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. How ‘bout them apples, Joe? 

Samantha Dilsheimer

Samantha is a student at Boston University studying television writing and producing originally from Philadelphia, PA. She's passionate about comedy, reality TV, and Diet Coke.

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