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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Trump pardons Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, leaves Joe Exotic in the lurch

Illustration for article titled Trump pardons Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, leaves Joe Exotic in the lurch
Photo: Mark Makela

Donald Trump, the “law and order” president, has graciously pardoned violent war criminals, white collar scumbags, and several political allies throughout his tumultuous presidency, and yesterday, on his last day as president, did more of the same with a fresh slate of 143 pardons. Among them are Steve Bannon, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, 2016 campaign fundraiser Elliott Broidy, as well as Trump-thirsty celebrities like Lil Wayne and Kodak Black. Surprisingly, Trump couldn’t seem to locate a spare pardon for Tiger King’s Joe Exotic, devastating a few Twitter-born theories.


Lil Wayne, who posed for a photo with Trump just five days before the election, was facing up to 10 years in prison for having illegally carried a gold-plated .45-caliber Glock handgun on a private jet last year. He pleaded guilty to the charge in December. Kodak Black, meanwhile, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in late 2019 for falsifying paperwork to obtain a firearm.

Joe Exotic, the flamboyant star of the Netflix docuseries, was sentenced to 22 years in prison earlier this year for hiring a hitman to kill his rival, big-cat activist and Dancing With The Stars contestant Carole Baskin (Exotic says he was framed). Exotic, who’s been lobbying Trump for a pardon all year, was so confident that he’d be freed that his lawyers queued up a limo for him outside the Fort Worth prison where he’s been doing time. Exotic nor his team have released a statement.

For a full roundup of everyone pardoned by Trump, head here. And if you want more info about how presidential pardons work, read up over at our sister site, Lifehacker.

UPDATE (1: 10 P.M. CT): Joe Exotic’s official Twitter has shared a statement after not being issued a pardon by Former President Donald J. Trump. “I was too innocent and too GAY to deserve a Pardon from Trump,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Exotic’s statement also makes reference to Donald Trump Jr., who in April joked on SiriusXM that he’d be willing to speak to his father about a pardon for Exotic “just for the meme.”


“I only mattered to Don Jr. when he needed to make a comment about me to boost his social media post,” Exotic’s statement continues. “Boy were we all stupid to believe he actually stood for Equal Justice? His corrupt friends all come first.”

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.