"I will be back to Florida, you all stay online asking for that pardon and the first show will be on the beach in Pensacola, deal?"
PENSACOLA — Joe Exotic's Pensacola ties are still strong.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, surprised the staff at Navarre Liquors earlier this week when the "Tiger King" himself replied after the employees sent the infamous prison inmate a greeting card in March.
Liquor store employee Aracely Davidson posted Exotic's letter in full on her Facebook page this week. She said the staff at Navarre Liquors bought a card all decked out with rainbows and tigers, and wrote to the subject of the smash-hit Netflix documentary series without expecting to receive a letter in return.
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"The staff wrote on it just saying that we know she did it (Carole Baskin)," Davidson wrote Thursday in a Facebook message. "And little goofy comments (like) 'We love you Joe Exotic.' "
In Exotic's handwritten letter, he said that if and when he gets out of prison, Pensacola could be the backdrop of a future Joe Exotic movie one day.
"I will be back to Florida, you all stay online asking for that pardon and the first show will be on the beach in Pensacola, deal?" Exotic wrote before referencing Baskin and other people prominently featured in the Netflix documentary. "You all know she killed Don and paid Jeff and James to do this to get my zoo."
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The eccentric Exotic, who was arrested in Gulf Breeze in 2018, added in the letter that he has four movies in the works. He asked the local liquor store staff to "be his voice" as he pursues a presidential pardon from his prison sentence.
The letters were sent and received from Federal Medical Center (FMC) Fort Worth in Texas, where Exotic is currently serving 22 years for plotting to kill Baskin, the CEO of the Tampa animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue.
Exotic constantly disparages Baskin in the seven-part documentary.
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"I honestly didn't think it'd be a big deal or was even expecting him to reply to us," Davidson wrote to the News Journal. "But I'm glad it's bringing a little humor in these times!"
A Texas native herself, Davidson said the letter is on the corkboard in the store's back office and added that it may one day find itself in the retail section of the store.
Jake Newby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8538.