'Tiger King' Joe Exotic is running for president

 March 16, 2023

Incarcerated reality TV star Joe Exotic, known to many as the "Tiger King," is running for president in 2024.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, became a pop culture phenomenon in 2020 when a Netflix documentary chronicling his bizarre life as a tiger handler and zookeeper, Tiger King, became a hit.

The "Tiger King" is serving a 21-year sentence in federal prison for animal abuse and plotting to assassinate his rival, Florida-based animal rights activist Carole Baskin.

Joe Exotic running for president

He released a rambling campaign statement on his website, in which he asked Americans to look past his legal troubles.

"The only thing I did was put five very old, crippled tigers to sleep in the most humane way possible," he said.

"So put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more then [sic] one boyfriend at once and that Carole hates my guts. This all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice," he added.

The former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park said his presidential run is no joke.

"Yes, I know I am in Federal Prison and you might think this is a joke but it’s not. It is my Constitutional right to do this even from here," he said.

Second presidential run

As for his agenda, Exotic, a libertarian, is calling for criminal justice reform and an end to the IRS.

"I am here because I have a world platform to make these politicians listen to your and my concerns and give us some answers for once because all they do is lie to all of us, take our hard earned money calling it taxes, and give it away to foreign countries without them giving us anything back," he wrote.

Exotic previously ran for president in 2016. 

President Biden signed a law in December sponsored by Carole Baskin banning the private ownership of big cats.

Exotic might not be the only presidential candidate running from jail in 2024, with reports swirling that a grand jury in New York is preparing to indict former President Trump for making hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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