President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will “take a look” into pardoning Joe Exotic, star of Netflix’s hit series “Tiger King,” at a coronavirus press briefing at the White House. The off-topic question immediately drew an outcry on social media.
New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked Trump if he would consider pardoning Joe Exotic –– aka Joseph Maldonado Passage –– in light of the recent comments made by Donald Trump Jr. during an interview with SiriusXM radio in which he stated that Exotic’s 22-year sentencing seemed “aggressive.”
“(Joe Exotic) is asking you for a pardon, saying he was unfairly convicted, said Nelson. “Your son yesterday jokingly said that he was going to advocate for it.”
Trump admitted that he had not seen the docu-series, which has garnered massive media attention since its premiere, and knew nothing about his case.
“Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter you’re not allowed to do that,” Trump said before pointing his finger to another reporter to ask their opinion.
Trump concluded by saying he would “take a look” at the Joe Exotic situation before shifting his focus back to coronavirus.
But many observers felt the question never should have been asked in the first place. Nelson has sparked major controversy online from journalists and viewers who felt the question was inappropriate to ask during a coronavirus briefing.
Millions of people have tuned into “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” which details the story behind the rivalry between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin over the treatment of wild animals. Joe Exotic was sentenced in January for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill Baskin and for animal welfare violations.
Meanwhile, Fox announced Wednesday that it is airing an hour-long special on April 13 from TMZ that will share new interviews and “never-before-seen footage” of the “Tiger King” story.