The outlandish zoo owner was said to be so confident of receiving a pardon that his team reportedly parked a stretch-truck limousine near his prison to transport him to a secure location.
Exotic is currently behind bars in Fort Worth Texas, after receiving a 22-year sentence in 2019 for attempting to hire a hitman to kill his bitter rival Carole Baskin, as well as an array of animal abuse charges.
His real name – Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage – failed to materialise on the list of 143 people who have been pardoned or had their sentences commuted in Trump’s final day of office.
Responding to the news on Twitter, former Star Trek actor George Takei joked: “Joe Exotic was hoping for a Trump pardon and even had a limo waiting, but it was a stretch.”
Joe Exotic was hoping for a Trump pardon and even had a limo waiting, but it was a stretch.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 20, 2021
Another said: “That damned Carole Baskin got to Trump.”
Others expressed disappointment that Exotic’s continued incarceration seemingly means that a Tiger King follow-up series will not materialise.
“Bit gutted Joe Exotic didn’t get a pardon on the condition that he makes another series of Tiger King immediately,” one user wrote.
Private investigator Eric Love, who is the head lawyer on Exotic’s case, previously told Metro he was so sure of a pardon that he had filmed a celebration video in anticipation.
“I think the president has sided with us and I believe it will take most of the limelight away from president-elect Joe Biden,” he said.
“Last night, I shot a congratulatory video thanking Donald Trump so we have it queued up and ready to go.”
Joe Exotic had previously reached out to Kim Kardashian last December for legal help, saying “I do believe that you hold the values of our justice system dear to your heart.”
While Exotic may have missed out, Trump has granted pardons to the likes of Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and Death Row records co-founder Michael ‘Harry-O’ Harris.