Culture Feature

Joe Exotic Wants Carole Baskin to Get Him Out of Prison

The woman he tried to have killed has offered an olive branch, but Joe Exotic wants the whole tree.

Just over a year on from the world's introduction to Tiger King, Joe Exotic — AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage — is still in prison, and he is seeking an unlikely partnership to win his freedom.

Having failed to secure a pardon from Donald Trump because he was, in Joe's words, "too innocent and too gay to deserve a pardon from Trump," he's now turning to the most unlikely of sources for help: Carole Baskin.

Keep Reading Show less

PETA Thinks We Should Live in a Real-Life Chuck E. Cheese Hell

PETA's president wrote a letter proposing that Punxsutawney Phil be replaced with an artificial intelligence groundhog.

For over a century, residents of a certain Philadelphia town have relied on a groundhog for the year's most crucial weather prediction.

Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his tree stump home each February 2 with a single mission to determine winter's end. If he "sees his shadow," as the legend goes, six more weeks of winter are due. If no shadow is spotted, then spring is imminent.

But PETA has some thoughts about this antiquated tradition, as expressed in their letter sent to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club this week. In it, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk argues that it's time for Phil to retire—and be replaced with a robot groundhog.

"As a prey species, groundhogs actively avoid humans," Newkirk writes. "When Phil is dragged out of his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds, he has no idea what's happening."

PETA's solution? Replace Punxsutawney Phil with artificial intelligence, of course. Newkirk continues: "Using technologically advanced electromechanical devices such as animatronics instead of live animals is more popular than ever. We even have the technology to create an animatronic groundhog with artificial intelligence (AI) that could actually predict the weather. An AI Phil would renew interest in Punxsutawney, generating a great deal of buzz."

While replacing Phil with a robot sounds like it might too closely approximate a nightmarish Chuck E. Cheese scenario, Newkirk has a good point: How does that lil' fella even predict the weather, anyway? Maybe an animatronic isn't such a bad idea. But also considering the fact that Phil lives a pretty nice life when he's off duty, PETA is probably—per usual—blowing the situation out of proportion. The guy only works one day a year, anyway.


Why We Need Baby Yoda to Run for President

The star of Star Wars: The Mandalorian may represent a new hope for 2020.

When former New York Mayor and current media oligarch Michael Bloomberg officially joined the Presidential race last weekend, he brought the total number of Democrats vying for the nomination up to 17.

While many people have been deriding this excess for months now—calling for a culling of the herd and deriding the chances of anyone outside the top three to five contenders—I'm not actually opposed to the idea of another candidate entering the race. Don't get me wrong: Michael Bloomberg is obviously either a moron or a spoiler candidate intending to subvert the will of the people. But if the right person entered the running, it could actually make things a lot simpler. A candidate who could truly engage and excite voters—someone exactly like Baby Yoda, and no one else in the universe.

baby yoda 2020 president

Axios first brought this possibility to my attention when they released a breakdown of article engagement based on the candidate featured. Baby Yoda easily surpassed them all. Why? Because Baby Yoda is a uniter. His power doesn't come from wealth or exclusive influence, but from the Force that connects all living things and binds the universe together.

yoda frog gif Though he may miss out on PETA's endorsement

He's a political outsider, from a galaxy far far outside the Washington beltway; and unlike your average politician, Baby Yoda doesn't waste his time on empty words. He doesn't make a dubious promise to save the Mandalorian from a giant rhino monster. He just gets the job done and asks for nothing in return. He has the wisdom of 50 years of life, but the youthful energy to chase down a frog creature and swallow it whole. His large, soulful eyes communicate trust and optimism, even when circumstances look bleak, and they can inspire loyalty even in cold-blooded killer or a Werner Herzog. Also, his healthcare plan most likely involves using his force powers to magically heal our wounds, which is pretty rad. If all that weren't already enough to win your vote, he's not half-bad to look at either.

winston churchill Pictured: Precedent for a baby/leader

Now, I know what you're thinking: How can a baby be a world leader? But would you ask the same thing of Winston Churchill? Considering that Baby Yoda is 50 years old, he more than meets the age requirement for the job, while also being—unlike Bloomberg, Biden, Sanders, and Warrena long way off from the decline and diseases of old age. And while his father spent a long time in the Dagobah system, Yoda was originally from California, which should make Baby Yoda a natural-born citizen.

As for finances, Baby Yoda has the backing of Disney+, which is expected to spend $350 million on marketing next year, which is nearly enough to rival the $500 million that Michael Bloomberg is planning to throw away on his doomed and absurd candidacy. Compared to that, Baby Yoda running for president suddenly seems pretty reasonable.

baby yoda campaign poster

So, while some of the deadlines for some primary races have already passed, it's not too late for an exciting new candidate to sweep in and reignite the American public's engagement in the political process... As long as that new candidate is Baby Yoda. Everyone else should give up and go home.


Bananas! Can a monkey own a selfie? The law decides

TRENDING | California courts will decide. Sock Monkee has an opinion about this trending topic

PETA insists that the book with photographs the simian took of itself infringed upon the animal's right of ownership.

This playful monkey with a surprisingly human smile and some serious selfie skills took the spotlight Wednesday as a federal appeals court entertained a debate as to whether an animal could hold a copyright for these selfie photos. Photographer David Slater included the photo in a book. An animal rights group sued on behalf of Naruto, contending the photographer infringed on the monkey's rights.

During a hearing, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals considered a lawsuit by an Indonesian macaque named Naruto. The animal allegedly grabbed a photographer's camera in 2011 and snapped a self-portrait. The court appeared to be doubting the validity of the claim that a monkey had proceeded with to sue for copyright protection.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image photo_credit="" caption="Los Angeles Times" pin_description="" image-library="0" crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//" expand=1]Los Angeles Times

"It is absurd to say a monkey can sue for copyright infringement," Angela Dunning, an attorney for the photographer, told the court during a hearing in San Francisco. "Naruto can't benefit financially from his work. He is a monkey."

Jeffrey Kerr, general counsel to PETA, speaks to reporters outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, on Wednesday. PETA sought a court order in 2015 allowing it to administer all proceeds from the photos to benefit the monkey.

"We have to look at the word 'authorship' in the broadest sense," he said.

The judges grilled him on why PETA has status to represent Naruto and said that "having genuine care for the animal" isn't enough to establish "next friend" relationship, which is required to represent the monkey in court.

The judges did not issue a ruling Wednesday.

From L to R: Colin Croom, Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks

From L to R: Colin Croom, Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks

Keep Reading Show less
Top Stories

A kind stranger gave this wounded puppy a second chance

Burned and attacked in India, Hershey's situation was grim, until a chance encounter with Ingrid Newkirk

The streets of India are often not a welcoming home for the millions of stray dogs and cats that struggle to survive. Without the watchful and caring eye, disease, starvation, vehicle accidents, and abuse can claim the lives of innocent animals every day. The situation was especially dire for Hershey, a 4-month old puppy with third-degree acid burns on her back. Brutally abused as well as attacked by other dogs, Hershey's prospects weren't looking good.


Fortunately, Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, found the puppy on her recent trip to Mumbai to visit PETA India. She took the dog in her arms to the PETA India office and a veterinarian was able to treat her wounds. Despite her pain, the little pup was strong in her recovery, never losing her charm and positive attitude.



While healing, she was able to make both human and canine friends. She finally had time to relax, and even developed a passion for watching other dogs on YouTube!

Check out the video to see Hershey's inspiring story.

[youtube expand=1]

Thanks to the kind folks at PETA, Hershey was given a second chance at a happy life. She has now recovered and is living at an animal sanctuary while she awaits a loving new adoptive family.

To find out more about Hershey's story and the inspiring work of PETA, click here.

The Cutest Celeb Pets

A.K.A. "What Ever Happened To Beyoncé's Dog?!"

Everyone loves puppies! Celebs' pets seem to live lives just as glamorous and pampered as their owners. There's Miss Asia Kinney, the french bulldog of Lady Gaga, who has modeled for Coach and has an Instagram account with over 235,000 Instagram followers. Then there's Neville Jacobs, a true fashion icon in his own right. The bougie bull terrier has a high-fashion wardrobe and even had a book of photographs released this year. So, it's only naturally that we provide some coverage to the high-caliber pets in the popsphere. We've rounded up our favorite pop-star pets:

Munchie, Owner: Beyoncé

Mario Testino

Just like his mother, Munchie was always an elusive figure. Very little is known about the dog, not even its gender. The shih tzu was spotted with Queen Beyonce from the years 2004-2006, before mysteriously disappearing from the spotlight. Little known fact: Beyoncé appeared on the cover of Animal Fair with the dog.

"The rep calls Munchie a pampered pooch whom everyone adores and says that Beyoncé and her cousin (the pup's main caretaker) are still crazy in love with him," PETA reported. Because they travel quite a bit, Munchie is usually left with family or friends—never at the record company."

In September Beyoncé was spotted walking a new dog with her daughter Blue Ivy. But that still doesn't answer our question.... What happened to Munchie? #JusticeForMunchie

Asia, Owner: Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's dog Asia has become a pop star in her own right. The french bulldog starred in a Coach's Fall 2014 campaign, rocking some pearls and serving serious face.

Miss Asia even runs her own Instagram account (*wink* *wink*) commonly writing about how much she misses Mother Monster whenever the singer is on the road and performing sold out shows.

Neville, Owner: Marc Jacobs

Neville Jacobs is more glamorous than you or I could ever hope to be. The dog has appeared on Vogue, Dazed, and Paper Mag and had a coffee table book of portraits by Nicolas Newbold released this year. Plus, his four-legged wardrobe is v haute couture, made by his daddy, fashion designer Marc Jacobs.

Normie Jenner, Owner: Kylie Jenner

Normie has made some pretty frequent appearances on Kylie's Instagram this past summer, but hasn't really been seen or heard from lately. Where's Normie? As Bustle throughly chronicled, many of the Kardashian's pets have a tendency of disappearing, dying, or simply never being heard from again. #JusticeForNormie

Chub, Owner: Gigi Hadid

Unfortunately, Gigi's beloved cat passed away earlier this year. She shared this beautiful pic of her and boyfriend, Zayn Malik, all one big happy family together.

Barbie, Owner: Miley Cyrus

Miley is seriously close to owning a farm of animals. The pop singer already has over 6 dogs and cats to her name. She shared this picture of Barbie the Beagle to speak out against testing on animals. We're guessing that means she's a big fan of the plot-line of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde.

Pig the Pig, Owner: Miley Cyrus

Miley has a pig that she loves to feed vegan bacon and dress up in bacon costumers for Halloween. Its original name was Betsey Sue, but Miley soon changed it to the more apt, and to-the-point name of: Pig.

Esther, Owner: Justin Bieber

Despite his ongoing "bad boy" image, Justin proved he still has a soft heart when he got this adorable yorkie.