Donald Trump discusses pardoning Tiger King’s Joe Exotic during corona briefing

The US president told reporters he'd look into the case made famous by a Netflix documentary series

donald trump, Tiger King

Here’s news few could have predicted: US President Donald Trump may take time out of the coronavirus crisis to consider pardoning a convicted felon made famous by a Netflix documentary.


During a conference discussing the coronavirus pandemic at the White House, the US leader gave his thoughts on Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic), the star of the hit series Tiger King, a man who was convicted of attempted murder for hire and a slew of wildlife violations.

When asked by a reporter if he’d consider overturning Exotic’s 22-year prison sentence, Trump said he didn’t know about the case and asked for more details.

After it was explained, the US President responded: “Do you think he did do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter you’re not allowed to do that. You’d be criticised.”

Turning to another journalist, the president asked: “Would you recommend a pardon?”

After the journalist declined to weigh in on Tiger King, Trump responded (in what we’re really hoping was in jest): “I don’t think you would… I’ll take a look.”

In 2018, Joe Exotic, 57, was convicted of 17 federal charges in total. The most serious charge was connected to a plot to murder animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

As documented in Tiger King, the two big cat enthusiasts have been involved in a long-running feud over Exotic’s treatment of his animals. Exotic also alleges that Baskin murdered her husband and fed him to her tigers, an accusation she has dismissed as “ridiculous”.

Baskin has also said she would not appear in the rumoured extra episode of the show.

Although not produced by Netflix, US broadcaster Investigation Discovery is revisiting the Joe Exotic story, seeking to dig further into questions left unanswered by Tiger King.


Tiger King is streaming on Netflix now. Check out our best Netflix TV shows for inspiration on what to watch next.