Donald Trump says he'll 'look into' a pardon for Tiger King star Joe Exotic

  • 09/04/2020

Donald Trump has jokingly said he'll "look into" a pardon for Joe Exotic, the imprisoned star of Netflix show Tiger King.

The comment was made at a White House media briefing on Wednesday (local time).

Exotic, the eccentric former zoo operator, is currently serving a 22-year sentence after he was found guilty of murder for hire and violating the Endangered Species Act.

"You think he didn't do it? Are you recommending a pardon?" Trump asked the New York Post's Steven Nelson, who initiated the Tiger King discussion.

"I'll take a look."

The former Celebrity Apprentice star's son, Donald Trump Jr, suggested in a radio interview he thought Exotic's sentence was too "aggressive" after watching the seven-episode docuseries in two sittings.

"Now, I don't even know exactly what he was charged with... I watched the show, but it was like, I don't know exactly what he was guilty of or wasn't,' Trump Jr told SiriusXM.

"It doesn't seem like he was totally innocent of anything. But when they're saying 'we're putting this guy away for 30 years', I'm saying that seems sort of aggressive."

Nelson's asking about Tiger King in a White House media briefing during the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism and praise from commentators.

"If there's time to ask a Tiger King question, the briefings are either way too long or reporters who ask such questions should be thrown into an alligator pit," said Forbes contributor Josh Jordan.

"The reporter asking President Trump about Tiger King and a possible pardon for Joe Exotic is exactly the kind of quarantine content we need," said Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich.

Tiger King's stranger-than-fiction story has made for an instant hit for Netflix during the pandemic. In New Zealand, the show was displayed as the number one trending item on the streaming service this week.