An image showing Joe Exotic, the star of Netflix's "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness."
  • Joe Exotic says that he was "too innocent and too GAY" to be awarded a presidential pardon by Donald Trump in a Tweet posted Thursday.
  • The "Tiger King" failed to receive clemency from the outgoing president despite continued lobbying efforts by his legal team.
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Joe Exotic has spoken for the first time after failing to receive a last-minute presidential pardon from Donald Trump. 

The 57-year-old "Tiger King" star, who is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for plotting to kill his rival Carole Baskin as well as several counts of animal cruelty, had been publicly petitioning Donald Trump to grant him clemency for some months.

But he did not make it onto the final list of 143 names granted pardons or commutations on Trump's last day in office. Joe Exotic - whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage - tweeted in response to the news early Thursday morning.

He said: "I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump. I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post. Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first."

Maldonado-Passage's legal team had previously told the press they were confident their client would be granted clemency and had a limousine on standby along with a team of hairdressers and make-up artists near his prison in Texas waiting to take him home. 

In a short email statement sent to Insider after it was confirmed Maldonado-Passage would not be freed, his legal representative Brad Small said: "Score remains 0:0 at the end of the first quarter. After an aggressive first quarter Hail Mary, team tiger didn't score.  Three quarters to go." 

Carole Baskin also responded to the news that Maldonado-Passage would not be freed. During an interview with Fox News, she said: "I'm taking a deep breath because I feel such a sense of relief. From the very time that he was sentenced, I have worried about there being a presidential pardon that could undo all of the hard work that went into bringing this person to justice."

She added: "When today at noon a new president was sworn in, I felt like I was finally safe from that threat."