Back in March 2020, when the pandemic first hit the United States, people across the country were confused, anxious and stuck at home for long periods of time.
So the March 20, 2020 release of Netflix's Tiger King, a documentary series that followed the wild antics and eventual imprisonment of eccentric big cat zookeeper "Joe Exotic," gave countless frightened people at least a few hours to place their thoughts in what felt like a different universe (it was actually Oklahoma).
Now, 10 months and 400,000 virus deaths later, "Joe Exotic"—whose real name is Joe Maldonado-Passage—grabbed headlines once again.
This time, Maldonado-Passage trended across social media when a gaudy stretch limousine was seen waiting outside his lawyer's office.
Maldonado-Passage is being held for 22-years on charges related to a murder-for-hire plot and federal wildlife laws, CBS reported.
Joe Exotic's legal team tell me they are "100% confident" Trump will pardon the 'Tiger King' from his 22-year crim… https://t.co/kzBRqBIgSA— Greg Walters (@Greg Walters)1611099977.0
On Donald Trump's last day as President of the United States, rumors were flying about exactly who the lame duck president was planning to pardon in the eleventh hour of his reality show presidency.
Clearly, Maldonado-Passage and his legal team were feeling quite confident they were on the list of Trump pardons, which ultimately included Lil Wayne, Steve Bannon and dozens of others.
Maldonado-Passage's confidence may have come from his feeling he managed to convince the President with a handwritten letter he sent back in September.
That two-page letter included a direct plea for clemency:
"Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please."When people on Twitter saw the limo outside the prison, their imaginations went wild.
@AnnieVogeler_TV TIGER KING: PART DEUX https://t.co/4BiAt0qSgB— 𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘑𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘶𝘴 (@𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘑𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘶𝘴)1611109319.0
@thegregwalters Pardon? https://t.co/eKmPyuOYRR— netjel (@netjel)1611101800.0
@AnnieVogeler_TV Is this real life? When did we slip into the matrix?— Travis (@Travis)1611099024.0
@thegregwalters what even is happening anymore https://t.co/Ui1SgHQhZq— 🍄 (@🍄)1611120081.0
But Maldonado-Passage was never granted the pardon he and his legal team so confidently expected.
As President Donald Trump kissed his presidency goodbye, fellow reality TV star Joe Exotic remained locked up.
Can we talk about how funny it is that Joe Exotic’s team rented a limo for him to drive away in on expectations of… https://t.co/vF7Zmdl4oY— Angry Staffer (@Angry Staffer)1611146736.0
Again, Twitter went wild.
@Angry_Staffer 😂 Fkn hilarious...— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir ✈)1611146914.0
@Angry_Staffer He also has to cancel his hair/spa appointment he had scheduled. So he's still stuck with a super ratchet prison mullet.— ⚜️Frenchy (@⚜️Frenchy)1611146823.0
@Angry_Staffer It's the funniest thing to happen so far this year https://t.co/mp4TsRgnLu— Ulysses Ventura (@Ulysses Ventura)1611156717.0
@Angry_Staffer Trump doesn’t want the competition in 2024 😂— Stacey (@Stacey)1611146797.0
With the Trump presidency now behind us, Joe Exotic's legal avenues toward freedom appear to be growing thin.