AceShowbiz - Miranda Lambert has become the latest celebrity to get dragged over her alleged affiliation with convicted former zoo owner Joe Exotic. The country music star stirred up a controversy after sharing throwback pictures of her with the "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" star on her social media pages on Monday, April 13.
In the photos, the "Mama's Broken Heart" hitmaker posed with Joe, his ex-husband John Finlay, as well as Joe's former staff member Kelci "Saff" Saffery. "Here's a little Monday memory for y'all," so she captioned the snaps, adding the hashtags #TigerKing and #WayTooPrettyForPrison.
Soon after they were uploaded, Miranda was criticized for her alleged relationship with Joe. "That's not a pic I would be proud of let alone post on social media. Very disappointed," wrote one person. "Surprised that you would post this considering you [sic] love of animals???? Odd!" a second user commented. "Yikes. This is embarrassing," another slammed her.
Noticing the backlash, the 36-year-old singer later took to Twitter to set things straight. "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. "MuttNation asked for volunteers who could transport some dogs from Houston shelters in Oklahoma, where there was room and they could be treated and adopted."
Miranda isn't the first public figure whose past encounter with Joe has landed her in hot water. Previously, Shaquille O'Neal had to defend himself following his cameo on the popular Netflix docuseries.
The basketball legend explained on his podcast that he's not friends with the incarcerated zoo operator, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and he barely knows him. "So we go in there, and it's a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe," he recalled his visit to the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, the zoo Joe previously owned in Oklahoma.
The 48-year-old retired athlete continued, "We're there and I dropped some donations for the tigers' foods and all that ... We take pictures with [the] tigers. We went back a couple times." He added though that he stopped coming to the zoo after finding out what Joe was involved with behind the scenes.
Joe, a self-proclaimed tiger lover, was sentenced to 22 years in jail in January of this year after he was found guilty for paying a hitman $3,000 to kill Carole Baskin, an animal activist who runs a sanctuary called the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla. Joe was feuding with Carole, who publicly criticized him for killing five of his tigers, breeding them and selling lemurs and more in hopes of turning a profit. According to prosecutors, Joe tried to silence Carole by hiring a hitman.