Netflix docuseries Tiger King follows the real-life drama of a few big cat-loving villains, some of whom have become heralded celebrities (albeit ironically) since the TV show aired. Now, it looks like there’s some dirt on Tiger King antihero Joe Exotic that may dissuade fans from rooting for him to get out of jail: he donated to Donald Trump during his presidential run in 2016.
Four years ago, Exotic paid $1,000 for a meet-and-greet at a Trump campaign outside Oklahoma City, reports TMZ. At one point, he stepped outside the home where the event was being held to smoke a cigarette. When he tried to head back inside, the Secret Service allegedly blocked him and said re-entry wasn’t allowed. He believes it’s because he showed his ID to get back inside and the agents saw his concealed-carry permit. However, TMZ’s sources claim Exotic was “acting starstruck,” which led the agents to be taken aback. Either way, Exotic never did get to encounter the businessman-turned-politician in the flesh that day.
The fact Exotic would pay another hopeful presidential candidate when he himself was running for president at the time is absurd. Maybe Exotic was feeling down on his luck because Marilyn Manson didn’t want to endorse him. More realistically, the fact the campaign fundraiser was a meet-and-greet implies Exotic probably just wanted to rub elbows with a guy whose get-rich-quick schemes allowed him to fail upwards.
What coincidental timing it is, then, that Exotic is now sitting in prison suing the US government for $94 million while simultaneously asking Trump to pardon him. The president said he would “take a look” at getting the Tiger King star out of jail. Apparently Joe Exotic’s legal team isn’t taking any chances and has decided to travel to the White House today to formally ask Trump for a pardon in person, reports TMZ. There’s no word yet on how their discussion has gone.
Assuming Exotic’s people are unsuccessful in obtaining a Trump pardon, the Tiger King star will sit behind bars for 22 years after having been found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill archenemy Carole Baskin, in addition to a load of other crimes against animals.
G.W. Zoo — the location at the heart of all of this drama — has since been renamed Tiger King Park by owner Jeff Lowe, a wise move to capitalize on their newfound fame. The park’s reopening was marked by huge crowds that ignored social distancing guidelines just to get a peek at the infamous crew members people can’t get enough of.
Everything about Tiger King is so over the top that it sounds made-up. Naturally, that means Hollywood jumped at the chance to milk it. An eight-episode series is currently underway by Dan Lagana, co-creator and showrunner of the Netflix mockumentary American Vandal. Best of all, the show will star Nicolas Cage.