Carole Baskin told BuzzFeed News she is breathing a sigh of relief that her rival Joe Exotic is remaining behind bars after he failed to win a pardon from outgoing president Donald Trump.
The mullet-wearing zookeeper and star of the Tiger King documentary series, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, had been hoping to be among those to whom Trump would grant clemency.
His lawyers were so confident he would be on the list they even hired a limo to pick him up from prison in Texas, as well as a hair and makeup team.
"We're waiting for the phone call from Washington, DC," said private investigator Eric Love, who is part of Exotic's defense team, in a Twitter video. "It's coming, y'all. Hold tight."
But while Trump issued dozens and dozens of pardons on the last night of his presidency, including for some celebrities, Exotic's never came — and Love soon deleted the video.
Love later retweeted a post purportedly written by Exotic himself.
Exotic is serving a 22-year prison sentence for trying to pay an assassin $3,000 to kill Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue. He was also convicted in April 2019 of violating federal wildlife laws for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs, and falsifying records. He denied the charges.
Baskin told BuzzFeed News she was thankful that Trump decided against a pardon.
"I think only Joe's team and the media were ever even thinking about a pardon for Joe," she said.
"There is no benefit, other than a feeble attempt to deflect attention, for anyone to pardon someone who walked up to five tigers and shot them in the head in order to clear cage space for the circus, who was going to pay him to board their tigers during the offseason," she said. "Tigers are the world's favorite animal and Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado Passage is right where he belongs: in a cage."