Joe Exotic has entered the 2024 race for President of the United States. The Tiger King subject, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and convicted felon announced his candidacy, even from behind bars in a statement on a new campaign website on Friday, March 10. His website indicates that he’s running as a Libertarian. The campaign comes as Joe, 60, is currently serving a 22-year sentence for attempting to hire a hitman to kill his rival Carole Baskin.
The former zoo owner shared a lengthy message on his campaign website, explaining that he felt it was his right to run for office, despite the charges against him. After railing against the legal system, Joe asked for Americans to put any preconceived notions about him aside. “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. The best thing you have going for supporting me is that I am used to fighting my whole life just to get by. I am broke, they have taken everything I ever worked for away, and it’s time we take this country back,” he said.
In his message, Joe continued to claim that he didn’t do anything wrong, and he shared a welcoming message, promising that he’d weigh in on different issues via his campaign website. The one issue he did address in his message was his anger at the way that tax dollars are spent. He announced that he was running in a tweet, directing people to his website.
This isn’t the first time that Joe has run for public office. He ran as an independent candidate during the 2016 election, and he ultimately ended up supporting Donald Trump, who won the election over Hillary Clinton. During his imprisonment, the Tiger King star and his legal team regularly attempted to broadcast messages to the former president, asking to have him pardoned and released. Videos on Joe’s 2024 campaign website appear to be repurposed from his 2016 run. In 2018, Joe ran in the Libertarian primary for the Oklahoma Gubernatorial race.
Aside from politics, Joe has revealed that he has been diagnosed with cancer in an Instagram message in November 2021. He gave followers an update on his health earlier in March, after reports that it was suspected that he had bladder cancer. In his tweet, he explained that he was refusing treatment.