On Monday, the country singer shared a few old photos of herself alongside the now-imprisoned Exotic on Twitter. Also shown in the pictures are Exotic’s ex-husband John Finlay and his former employee Kelci “Saff” Saffery, who are both featured in the Netflix docuseries.
“Here’s a little Monday memory for y’all,” Lambert tweeted, along with the hashtags “#TigerKing” and “#WayTooPrettyForPrison.”
Many of her fans expressed disappointment and surprise at the photos, considering Exotic was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse. He’s currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for those crimes, along with two counts of murder for hire.
Lambert later explained why she was photographed with Exotic, saying they only met because he volunteered to help her organization MuttNation Foundation in 2017. “OBVIOUSLY I’d never condone animals being treated badly,” she wrote. (This also likely means she was unaware that Exotic is a fellow “country singer.”)
“Backstory: During Hurricane Harvey, the MuttNation Team went to Houston to help relocate existing shelter dogs to free up shelter space for animals separated by their owners,” she explained in a follow-up tweet. “MuttNation asked for volunteers who could transport some dogs from Houston to shelters in Oklahoma, where there was more room and they could be treated and adopted.”
She continued, “Some guy named Joe volunteered his trailer and staff. Now I know it’s ‘Joe Exotic’ I’ve never been to his zoo and I didn’t even know he had tigers. OBVIOUSLY I’d never condone animals being treated badly.”
Previously, Shaquille O’Neal — who was seen visiting Exotic’s zoo in the docuseries — also defended himself over his relationship with Exotic. The former Laker said while he visited the zoo a few times, after he “found out that [Exotic was] involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.” Beyonce, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and more stars also had connections to either Exotic or the other people featured in the doc.
Tiger King became an immediate sensation following its March 20 debut, with Netflix claiming that the doc racked up 34.3 million unique viewers in the U.S. within its first 10 days of being released. It was so popular — and controversial — that an aftershow, The Tiger King and I, dropped on April 12.
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