Carole Baskin, the big-cat activist who is the target of the murder-for-hire plot in Netflix’s “Tiger King,” has ripped the hit docuseries as being “salacious and sensational.”
Baskin said the project she was pitched to participate in was not what ended up on screen. Baskin called out the directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, for what she believes to be a bait-and-switch.
“There are no words for how disappointing it is,” Baskin, who said she was asked to be part of “the big cat version of ‘Blackfish,'” stated.
“Tiger King” follows (and the title refers to) Joe Exotic, the owner of a big-cat zoo in Oklahoma. Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was found to be guilty of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin, a rival of his in the animal world. He’s serving a multi-decade prison sentence for that and for animal rights crimes.
Baskin runs the Big Cat Rescue and was highly critical of Maldonado-Passage’s park. Several of the other people profiled in and interviewed for “Tiger King” do not believe Baskin to be the squeaky-clean animal rights activist that she purports to be. Maldonado-Passage has outright accused Baskin of killing her former husband and either feeding his remains to the tigers or dumping the body in a septic tank on their property.
Below is Baskin’s full statement. Netflix, who Baskin calls “unethical,” did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story. We also asked for a response from — or an interview with — the docuseries’ directors.
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 acclaimed documentary that exposed the horrible abuse taking place at SeaWorld and other similar parks around the world. A lifelong animal lover, I was immediately drawn to the possibility of exposing the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for exploitation and the awful lives these majestic creatures are forced to endure in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive their time used for petting.
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.
I will not use this platform to bring further attention to Netflix or their unethical practices, especially when so many of their so-called inside sources have been clearly shown to be heavily biased (Click HERE for the details).
Instead, I invite the public to focus on the real issue at hand and the important work my team has been able to accomplish. For the last 23 years, we have devoted our hearts and souls to stopping the abuse of big cats used in cub petting schemes and roadside zoos. Through our Tampa-based sanctuary, we’ve been able to rescue and rehabilitate over 200 big cats, educate hundreds of venues to not allow cub petting traveling exhibits on their premises, pass the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, and now have enormous support in Congress for the Big Cat Public Safety Act which would end abusive cub petting and outlaw having big cats as pets, and educate the public about the abuses associated with circuses and inbreeding of white tigers.
I hope viewers will 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.