WARNING: Spoilers for Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness ahead.
Hey, all you cool cats and kittens. If you just finished the rollercoaster that is Netflix’s Tiger King—which sheds light on the strange world of big cat owners—you probably just watched its star, Joe Maldonado-Passage (AKA “Joe Exotic”), land in prison for numerous charges ranging from a murder-for-hire plot to animal abuse. But while the former zookeeper serves his time in jail, what is his longtime rival, Carole Baskin, up to?
The animal rights activist continues on as the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, a sanctuary for abused and abandoned exotic animals. And according to Variety, Baskin, now 58, still lives with her husband Howard near the facility.
Like most institutions during the coronavirus pandemic, the rescue grounds are closed to the public until further notice. Staff members are also working from home, though according to Baskin’s recent vlog update, some are coming in to continue maintenance and feeding.
As for Tiger King, Carole is unamused with how the show turned out. She shared a lengthy statement refuting some of the claims made in the series, including the insinuations that she had something to do with her former husband Don’s disappearance and presumed death.
“When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive,” she began her message.
“There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers,” she continued.
Baskin also addressed the mounting criticisms and questions about Big Cat Rescue’s operations, such as not setting the animals free, allowing visitors in the sanctuary, how the staff makes money, and more. She then took down in detail the show’s portrayal of her previous husband and his vanishing, as she refuted claims about his “wealth,” and went after specific people who were interviewed in the segment.
Howard Baskin also filmed a nine-and-a-half-minute video accusing the filmmakers of deceiving him and Carole. “In my view the biggest con artists of them all turned out to be the directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin,” he said. “I believe they are totally devoid of integrity, that they don’t care at all about the animals, and that they clearly, clearly don’t care about the truth. In my opinion, as far as I can tell, all they wanted to do was make something as inflammatory and salacious as possible that Netflix would pay millions for. They betrayed not only us but also the animals.”
Despite the Baskins’ complaints, this might not be the end of Carole’s story on the small screen. Vulture reports that Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon is executive-producing a limited series where she’ll star as the Big Cat Rescue founder herself.
Watch Tiger King on Netflix
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