Big Cat Rescue founder and one of the subjects of Netflix’s docuseries “Tiger King” is imploring Kate McKinnon to avoid using big cats in her fictionalized take on the exotic animal drama.
McKinnon signed on to the project last fall, long before Joe Exotic became a meme. The project is based on the six-episode Wondery podcast, which takes a deep dive into the life of big cat enthusiast Baskin, her fight to end the exotic animal trade in the U.S. through the Big Cat Public Safety Act, and her feud with Joe Exotic. McKinnon will play the flower-crown wearing Baskin in the series which does not yet have a distributor.
With “Tiger King” dominating online talk, Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla. issued a statement urging McKinnon to avoid using real cats in the series.
“The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic. It would be cruel to use real big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats,” the statement reads. “We urge McKinnon to utilize computer-generated imagery (CGI) of cats in the show rather than forcing real big cats to suffer just to entertain the audience.”
The statement continues: “We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic. We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America.”
While Baskin hasn’t addressed the idea of McKinnon playing her in the series, she does have some words for Netflix’s “Tiger King”.
In a statement, Baskin says the Netflix series was described to her as “the big cat version of ‘Blackfish’,” which exposed the animal abuse at SeaWorld and other marine parks. Instead, Baskin says there “are no words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has instead chosen to be as salacious and sensational as possible to draw in viewers. As part of that, they devoted an entire segment to 23-year-old lies and innuendos suggesting I was involved in my husband Don’s 1997 disappearance.”
Baskin also vows to not “bring further attention to Netflix or their unethical practices” and instead encourages people to “join our fight and cease support of the individuals capable of this abuse by not engaging in cub petting or tiger selfies” and, even more importantly, help us pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act which would end so much of the abuse.”