The Bizarre Story of Joe Exotic’s Presidential Campaign
Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, gained nationwide recognition after the release of the wildly popular Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.” While the show focused primarily on his involvement in the exotic animal trade, it also shed light on his often bizarre behavior and questionable ethics. Despite being imprisoned for multiple offenses, including an attempted murder plot, Joe Exotic made a surprising splash in the world of politics with a tongue-in-cheek political ad that left many scratching their heads.
The Political Ad
In the ad, released in early September 2020, Joe Exotic declared his official candidacy for president of the United States, despite being unable to vote due to his criminal record. In the video, he boasts about his previous run for Oklahoma governor in 2018, where he garnered a surprising 19% of the vote. He also blasts his opposition, claiming that Republicans and Democrats are “failing the American people.” The video is a 2-minute long ride full of colorful language and bizarre imagery, with Joe Exotic decked out in American flag clothing, surrounded by tigers and other exotic animals.
Is It a Joke or Not?
While the ad generated a significant amount of buzz on social media, for many, it was seen as nothing more than a desperate attempt for attention. Joe Exotic’s legal troubles and involvement in an attempted murder plot have overshadowed his political aspirations, leaving many wondering if he’s serious or if it’s all just a prank.
The truth is likely a mixture of both. Joe Exotic is undoubtedly using his campaign as a way to stay in the public eye and generate publicity for his upcoming appeal. However, his political aspirations appear to be genuine, at least to some extent. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many political outsiders, such as Donald Trump, gained significant support.
The Criminal Records
However, his stumbling block is, of course, his notorious criminal record. Many have pointed out that his inability to vote and his criminal history make him an unlikely candidate for the presidency, let alone any elected office. However, Joe Exotic has been adamant that he deserves a shot, arguing that his sentence was a “set-up” and that he was targeted by the government due to his outspoken criticism of animal rights activists.
Pop Culture and Politics
Regardless of whether or not Joe Exotic is a serious contender for the presidency, his ad raises some interesting questions about the intersection of pop culture and politics. In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing amount of celebrities and even reality TV stars running for political office. While some have managed to gain significant support, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and Donald Trump in the White House, others have been dismissed as publicity stunts, such as Kanye West and Vermin Supreme.
The rise of social media and reality TV has made fame an increasingly important asset in the political sphere. In an era where politicians are competing not just for votes but for clicks and shares, candidates like Joe Exotic, with his outlandish personality and ability to go viral, can’t be entirely dismissed. However, it’s also important to remember that politics is more than just a popularity contest. Competence, experience, and a policy platform are crucial components of success in the political arena.
Overall, Joe Exotic’s political ad is a desperate attempt for attention, but it’s also a fascinating example of the growing intersection between pop culture and politics. While it may be unlikely that he’ll make it onto a presidential ballot anytime soon, his viral campaign raises some important questions about what it takes to be successful in the modern political landscape.