Netflix’s “Tiger King” enthralled American audiences last year as the documentary series gave a glimpse into the life of former big cat zookeeper and convicted felon Joe Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic.”
The streaming platform earlier this week unveiled “Tiger King 2,” offering an update on the events that occurred following the series’ first season.
Maldonado-Passage is serving a prison sentence for being found guilty of hiring an individual to murder arch-rival Carole Baskin and violating federal laws relating to animal rights. In 2020, Joe Exotic’s legal team launched a campaign in an effort to lobby for the “Tiger King” star’s release from prison by way of a presidential pardon.
A little over half an hour into season two’s first episode, an aircraft sporting Joe Exotic’s likeness can be seen exiting a runway taking flight toward the nation’s capital, where on Jan. 6, his team had planned to take advantage of the large gathering protesting the 2020 presidential election by displaying a sign that read, “Pardon Joe Exotic.”
The scene pans into an aerial view of the U.S. Capitol Building before transitioning into a shot of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) speaking at the Ellipse, where the congressman can be heard proclaiming, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!”
Joe Exotic’s attempts to be freed from conviction were to no avail, as former President Donald Trump opted not to grant the big cat enthusiast a pardon prior to his White House exit.
Brooks would go on to face intense scrutiny from Democrats, who claimed his participation in the “Stop the Steal” rally sparked the incident which occurred on Capitol Hill shortly after his speech.
The North Alabama congressman became the target of a lawsuit brought by U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sued Brooks under the claim that he played a direct role in the events that took place.
Additionally, under the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack had also set its sights on Brooks for his alleged role in the incident.
Brooks has pushed back against such narratives as he maintains that his participation in the rally “to protest voter fraud and election theft” was protected under the First Amendment’s protections of peaceful assembly.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL