Carole Baskin is doubling down on her allegations that the producers of “Tiger King” lied about the type of documentary she’d be appearing in when they convinced her to participate in the 2020 Netflix phenom.
Speaking with Fox News, Baskin says that she was completely taken aback when she learned that the documentary she was assured would focus on the plight of big cats living in captivity was instead focusing on Joe Exotic, with the series subtitled “Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
“I felt betrayed by them,” Baskin says. “We worked with the producers for five years. When they came to us they said what they were working on was ‘Blackfish’ for big cats. ‘Blackfish’ showed just a horrible, horrible life for dolphins and whales being kept in these concrete pools. After it, the whole industry of whale shows and stealing whales and putting them in aquariums came to a halt. To do the same for big cats, we thought [a documentary] exposing how the cub petting is so cruel would be great.”
She also says that “Tiger King” was a title that wasn’t even mentioned. “In fact, they said the name of their show was going to be ‘Stolen Wildlife’ and they said Joe would be in it but in five minutes of it.”
Producers, she claims, “totally lied to us about what their end product was going to be. The whole premise behind [the show] was that it was a feud. For a feud, you have to have two people that are feuding. I’ve never had a conversation with Joe. I’ve never even spoken to him.”
In fact, she says the rivalry between the two that viewers saw on the show didn’t exist — even though he is serving a 22-year prison sentence for trying to have her murdered.
“What I do and what he hated me for is, I go after all of the animal exploiters that are exploiting big cats. He was one of many of them who have threatened to kill me. It’s just he’s the one they were finally able to catch and put behind bars. But it was never personal for me. I never said anything personal against Joe,” she says.
She’s accusing Netflix of “trying to sell a feud… I think they had to paint me into this kind of ‘Karen’ figure that just drove him mad and that’s how this whole thing happened.
Netflix declined Fox News’ request for comment, while “Tiger King” filmmakers Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode stand by their earlier statement to the Los Angeles Times.
“I would just say we were completely forthright with the characters. With any project that goes on for five years, things evolve and change, and we followed it as any good storyteller does,” Chaiklin said, while Goode contended the reason the film wasn’t a “big cat” version of “Blackfish” was “because of the things [Baskin] spoke about. She certainly wasn’t coerced.”
Ironically, if Baskin was hoodwinked as she alleges, the fame that ensued is now giving her the opportunity to make the kind of series she wanted to be involved in in the first place.
“We are currently in the process with Thinkfactory for a series,” she adds. “The series would be what we actually do at Big Cat Rescue. We expose the people who are abusing big cats. We expose it to the public and we expose it to law enforcement and then we put pressure on law enforcement until they actually do their jobs, which means typically bringing these people to court, taking away their licenses, putting the animals into legitimate sanctuaries.”