City of Minneapolis uses 'Tiger King' stars Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin to demonstrate social distancing guidelines

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

The city of Minneapolis is turning to Joe Exotic, of all people, for some help reminding its citizens to keep up the social distancing.

A message posted Monday on the city’s official Twitter account featured the subject of the new Netflix documentary Tiger King, which has produced major ratings as people tear into it while stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. It showed Exotic and his rival in the documentary, animal rights activist Carole Baskin, being separated by a tiger, in an illustration. “Practice appropriate physical distancing like Joe and Carole,” the post read. “Keep six feet apart or more.”

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was convicted in June 2019 of having targeted Baskin in a murder-for-hire plot and other charges. In January, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crimes.

Jordan Gilgenbach, the city’s digital communications coordinator, explained the thought that went into the post.

“This was a good opportunity to use something that’s culturally relevant, trending and could easily resonate with a large audience, to increase awareness of physical distancing,” he tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Sometimes, local governments need to stand out in order to convey an important message.”

Minnesota residents have been under a stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Tim Walz since March 27, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Gilgenbach says response for the post has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

He points out that Minneapolis officials had reached many more people with that single post than they had in the past week.

Not surprisingly, people were loving it. As of Monday, there were more than 1,000 likes on Twitter and more than 1,600 likes and 1,500 shares on Facebook, which is impressive for the government account.

Netflix did not respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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