In a recent interview with the Mirror, Baskin’s husband Howard said the couple is willing to offer their support to Exotic if he’ll put his support behind the Big Cat Public Safety Act and stop breeding tigers.
“If he were to do that, it might position him in a positive way for a pardon. And frankly, I might be willing to go and urge at least a reduction in his sentence," said Howard. In further comments, Carole suggested Joe could “take all of this fame and become a hero who could save the tiger from extinction.”
Joe Exotic is currently serving 22 years in prison on two counts of hiring someone to murder Baskin—the owner of Big Cat Rescue with whom he has a years-old feud—plus eight counts of violating the Lacey Act and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act after he killed five tigers and sold others across state lines.
Exotic, who is now 58, suggested he’d be willing to accept their help, but he did so in his own, particularly Joe Exotic way.
"It is time for Carole and Howard to put up or shut the hell up because I'm accepting their offer," Joe Exotic told Entertainment Tonight. "And I'm gonna take it one step further than that, OK? It is time to get on the phone to President Biden or whoever they need to that they've got in their little financial pocket and say, 'Hey, Joe is willing to support a big cat bill to help protect cats in America from being exploited. But we need to keep our end of the deal and get Joe a pardon because this wasn't really about murder for hire or shooting five tigers—this was about exploiting Joe to support Carole's agenda.' So, there's the offer on the table, all right?"
Joe has been outspoken about the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which prohibits people from owning tigers, lions, leopards, and other big cats to put an end to the “petting industry.” The bill was passed back in December, and the erstwhile Tiger King appears to think it won’t help anyone “except PETA and Carole Baskin.” He said he’d be willing to testify if “they want to end big cats in America and they want the exploitation of them.”
He continued, “It's time to get an attorney general down here and listen to the evidence that I have to prove I'm innocent and get me the hell out of here. And they've got my support. Other than that, they need to stay the hell out of the news with all their crap just to get their name in the paper because I just called their bluff.”
Baskin is standing by the offer, but said she wouldn’t support him getting a reduced sentence based on his recent comments. “I think he’d say anything, but not actually do it,” she replied. “He’d have to actually work with authorities to bring all of his buddies to justice and work with legislators to end cub-handling. Then, I’d want him to be rewarded for having done the right thing.”
Last year, Joe Exotic rallied hard to get Donald Trump to pardon him before leaving office. Nothing came of the efforts, however, and Exotic called Trump “chicken shit” for only pardoning “people that he got in trouble.” By late January, Exotic shifted his priorities to asking the Biden administration to pardon him.