At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people were stuck at home with not much to do. Then, the Netflix gods came down from heaven and gifted us with Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. The show started out showing Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, and his bevy of big cats but ended in a murder plot and Maldonado-Passage in jail. Last year, Maldonado Passage begged to be pardoned from his crimes by Donald Trump but that never came to fruition.
Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s feud
From early on in the show, it became clear that Maldonado-Passage had a huge feud with Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue. The tension between the two got so serious that Maldonado-Passage allegedly hired a hitman to kill her. In 2019, he was found guilty of paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Baskin.
Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic have both moved on
Tiger King may have just brought viewers into the feud between Baskin and Maldonado-Passage but Baskin has already moved on from the drama.
“I think for Joe, [the feud] was probably very personal because people said there wasn’t a day in his life that he wasn’t ranting and raving, and carrying on and calling out my name,” she told Vanity Fair. “But for me, he was just one of about a dozen of these bad guys that I was exposing online.”
Maldonado-Passage is also over Baskin.
“I’m done with the Carole Baskin saga,” he told Netflix in an interview from jail. “It’s now time to turn the tables and Joe get out of jail a free man and exonerated from all these charges.”
Why Joe Exotic didn’t get pardoned
After gaining Netflix fame, Maldonado-Passage asked Donald Trump to give him a presidential pardon. As Trump is no longer in office, it’s clear that Maldonado-Passage’s pleas went unanswered.
“I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump,” Maldonado-Passage told his team, who then posted his message to Instagram. “I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post. Boy, were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for equal justice? His corrupt friends all come first.”
According to Baskin, Maldonado-Passage has actually gotten time added to his sentence.
“If I understand the notice I got from the prison system, he’s already gotten another month added to his sentence by not obeying prison rules,” Baskin told TMZ. “If Joe really had a change of heart, he could do what Mario Tabraue did to lessen his 100 year drug trafficking conviction to 12 years by turning state’s evidence against the other animal exploiters.”
Tabraue was another big cat sanctuary owner. He was convicted in 1989 on charges of racketeering and sentenced to 100 years in prison after using his sanctuary as a drug-smuggling front.
In addition to being charged for the murder plot, Maldonado-Passage was also hit with 17 charges of animal abuse for killing five tigers and transporting cats across state lines in order to sell them.
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