Alert: Spoilers for the Netflix docuseries “The Tiger King” ahead.
“President Trump we are asking you today to please free Joe Exotic. He’s absolutely not guilty. And we’re going to be able to prove that. We’re asking for a pardon.” Eric Love, lead investigator for the Tiger King’s legal team.
TMZ today revealed an exclusive video from the legal team of Joe Maldonado-Passage, AKA Joe Exotic the Tiger King, requesting a pardon for the disgraced former zoo owner from US president Donald Trump.
Exotic is currently serving 22 years in prison after being convicted on several charges relating to a murder-for-hire plot involving a rival zoo owner and for abusing animals. His legal team disputes the charges and the way the case was handled, hence the pardon request.
In true Joe Exotic fashion, the video is bold, brash, and more than just a little bit over the top. But, we’d expect nothing less from the new lead investigator for the Tiger King’s legal team.
We’re not sure exactly when Joe Exotic turned to Eric Love, a former law enforcement officer turned private investigator who claims to be famous in Fort Worth, Texas, for his defense, but after seeing the video we’re glad he did – at least for entertainment purposes. Love’s the kind of guy that Netflix makes documentaries about. Exhibit A: here he is on a confusing billboard he took out for himself in 2018:
For those wondering who “Big Juicy” is, here’s a snippet from reporter Jeff Prince’s article about the billboard in Fort Worth Weekly:
“In Texas, go big or go home,” he [Eric Love] said. “So I did what any good native of Fort Worth would do, I went BIG. I contacted Clear Channel outdoor advertising and told them I wanted a billboard going into Fort Worth for my dog, to honor him and the city I love.”
Yes, Big Juicy is his dog. This guy’s perfect.
The video, which features footage of Love and other members of Exotic’s legal team, is equal parts trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist (yet) and a direct request for US president Trump to pardon Joe Exotic.
Love, in the video, claims he can prove more than just Joe Exotic’s innocence:
With this extensive support we intend to prove not only that the Tiger King is not guilty, but that he is the victim.
Under normal circumstances, this would all seem ridiculous. What possible good could a firecracker personality molded in the same vein as Dog the Bounter Hunter, Jeff Lowe, or Joe Exotic himself do for a person whose trial was quick and decisive with a ridiculous video?
But these aren’t normal circumstances. They’re asking the former host of a reality TV show who’s currently obsessed with his TV ratings during a pandemic to pardon a guy who’s captivated the imagination of more than 64 million viewers. Any other president might be a hard sell, but Trump pardoning Joe Exotic would make more sense than just about anything else happening in US politics right now.
Never mind the fact that Exotic was convicted for his part in a murder-for-hire plot that was incredibly well-documented in the Netflix show and for animal abuse crimes witnessed by numerous employees who testified at his trial.
In other Tiger King news, there’s a pair of dueling scripted TV shows in the works featuring some Hollywood heavy-hitters in some spicy roles (provided of course they get to post-production before we all lose interest). Nicolas Cage has been tapped to play the Tiger King himself in a ViacomCBS scripted show about Maldonado-Passage’s life. And Kate McKinnon, of Saturday Night Live fame, is onboard to play Carole Baskins… but we’re not sure what network or service that’s going to happen on yet.
Personally, I think Kate McKinnon should play Joe Exotic. Her turn as former US attorney general Jeff Sessions on SNL was a work of art.
Rob Lowe and Ryan Murphy (the show-runner behind shows such as Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story) are also reportedly moving forward with a Joe Exotic project:
Ryan Murphy’s “Tiger King” project is confirmed to be in development. Rob Lowe is attached to star as Joe Exotic in a film adaptation of the hit documentary series. #TigerKing pic.twitter.com/a7GFuYZg2p
— The AHS Zone (@ahszone) May 4, 2020
I’m actually shocked that Netflix hasn’t already gone ahead with another season of Tiger King. The extra episode of the series featuring Joel McHale (of The Joel McHale Show on Netflix) in video conference with several non-incarcerated folks featured in the show was a hit with fans. And it obviously isn’t hard or expensive to smash together some social-distancing-friendly conference-call footage.
There’s plenty of ancillary characters whose lives are ripe for exploration. And, considering the bombshells that Jeff Lowe dropped during his recent AMA on Reddit (seriously, what’s going on with the animal sexual abuse allegations from that ridiculous-but-par-for-the-course Q&A session?), it seems like every time someone sits down with one of the cast members things go off the rails.
Take, for example, this Playboy interview with Masha Diduk, the “hot nanny” Jeff Lowe and his wife hired during the show amid polyamory overtones. She’s a cocktail waitress and fashion model whose experience as a nanny includes having a little brother. On paper she seems like an outlandish character, but only in the orbit of Joe Exotic would such a personality come off as “normal.”
However, she’s still a Tiger King cast member and that, of course, means that normal is an entirely subjective term. Here’s my favorite passage from the interview:
PLAYBOY: Everyone has opinions because it’s such a popular show.
DIDUK: I do believe that all that negativity is aimed at Joe. People are like, “How can you work for someone like that?” I’m like, “I’m not working for Joe. Joe’s in jail because he was killing tigers.” Jeff and Lauren don’t kill their tigers. And I don’t think breeding is terrible, because there are more of them now, so they’re not going to be extinct.
People are mad that I travel to Oklahoma during the quarantine, but it’s not like they haven’t been to the grocery store. There are definitely more people at the grocery store than at the airport, where it looks like a ghost town. I haven’t gotten sick, so I guess I’m okay.
What do you think folks? Will president Trump pardon Joe Exotic? He’s been asked before:
I’m going to say yes. Something about the cut of Eric Love’s jib strikes me as the kind of thing Trump’ll respond positively to.
Watch the full “Pardon Joe Exotic” video on TMZ.