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Miranda Lambert explains why she posed for photos with Joe Exotic

Miranda Lambert and Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage appear

Miranda Lambert and Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage appear in a composite image. Credit: Composite: Invision / AP / Evan Agostini, left; Netflix US / AFP via Getty Images

Country music star Miranda Lambert has issued an explanation following the backlash to her social-media post of photos with her and Joe Exotic, the former Oklahoma zookeeper serving time in prison for a murder-for-hire plot.

"Here's a little Monday memory for y'all. #TigerKing #WayTooPrettyForPrison," the two-time Grammy Award winner had written, captioning three photos of herself with Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage — subject of the hit Netflix documentary miniseries "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness" — and various others. In January, Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison on charges including murder-for-hire after paying an undercover FBI agent $3,000 to kill animal activist Carole Baskin.

"Back story: During Hurricane Harvey [in 2017], the MuttNation Team went to Houston to help relocate existing shelter dogs to free up shelter space for animals separated by their owners," Lambert, 36, said in a self-reply on Twitter and Facebook, referring to her and mom Bev Lambert's 11-year-old canine-rescue nonprofit, the MuttNation Foundation.

"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. Some guy named Joe volunteered his trailer and staff. Now I know it's 'Joe Exotic,' " she continued. "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."

Lambert did not address her original post's "#WayTooPrettyForPrison" hashtag that indicated she was aware of his conviction, which Maldonado-Passage is appealing.

The animal-welfare organization PETA afterward replied on Lambert's Twitter feed that "#TigerKing shows exactly why everyone should boycott roadside zoos! You'll be happy to know that PETA helped rescue 39 tigers, 3 bears, 2 baboons, and 2 chimpanzees from Joe Exotic's roadside zoo & won't stop until EVERY roadside zoo closes."

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