Joe Exotic Leans On Unexpected Reality TV Friendship In Prison Pardon Bid

For many, Netflix's "Tiger King" may have just felt like an early-pandemic fever dream. For leading man Joe Exotic, however, the drama never stopped. Season 1 of the controversial series introduced us to the big cat fanatic's Oklahoma-based zoo, with things quickly taking a dark turn. By the time the first season aired, Exotic had been sentenced to 22 years in prison. As reported by NPR, he was convicted on a murder-for-hire charge against a fellow tiger enthusiast, Carole Baskin.

The imprisonment of the show's star didn't stop Netflix from making a second season, much of which revolved around Exotic's petition for freedom. Vulture recapped one notable episode in which Exotic's friends and fans flew to Washington, D.C. to beg Donald Trump for a presidential pardon. Unfortunately, they chose January 6, 2021 for their visit ... so focus was largely elsewhere.

Despite the emergence of a new year and a new president, Exotic maintains his innocence and hopes for freedom. Now, it would appear the man has found a new reality TV star to back his cause.

Joe Exotic hopes that TLC's Jesse Meester will help him get a pardon

What really was "Tiger King," if not a love story between a man and his cats? It would seem that "90 Day Fiance" alumni Jesse Meester connected with Joe Exotic's big heart, as he's the latest to join his bid for freedom. Joe Exotic's Instagram page, which regularly provides updates to its 352,000 followers, recently shared a shirtless photo of Meester and a heartfelt caption.

"Meet my amazing dear friend Jesse Meester," the post began. "He is going to help me get a voice to the White House for President Biden to sign my pardon before November of this year." Meester reaffirmed his support in the comment section, writing, "People close to you turned their back on you, but not us. You helped so many people through lockdown and we should never forget the truth and authenticity you lived your life with."

Meester also had experiences creating entertainment during the times of social-distancing. Following his unsuccessful attempt at love through "90 Day Fiance," he sought a virtual partner through TLC's show "Find Love Live." In an interview with People, he said, "Being quarantined at home shouldn't stop up us from trying to make connections." It would appear that Exotic has a similar philosophy, as even the isolation of prison didn't stop him from finding a new ally.