‘Tiger King’ Producers Push Back on Carole Baskin’s Criticism of Series: ‘She Certainly Wasn’t Coerced’

“Carole really had no interest in seeing an animal in the wild,” says co-producer Eric Goode

Last Updated: March 30, 2020 @ 8:14 AM

Producers of Netflix’s hit docuseries “Tiger King” have responded to criticism from Carole Baskin, the big-cat activist who is the target of the murder-for-hire plot in Netflix’s “Tiger King.”

Baskin described the docuseries as “salacious and sensational” in an interview with TheWrap last week, and called out directors and co-producers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin directly. Baskin said she was approached to do a big cat version of “Blackfish” — the 2013 documentary about killer whales captured at sea parks. Instead, she says the series focused on her husband Don’s 1997 disappearance.

In an interview with the L.A. Times, Goode and Chaiklin pushed back on Baskin’s claims, saying her participation “certainly wasn’t coerced.”

“Carole talked about her personal life, her childhood, abuse from her first and second husband, the disappearance of her ex, Don Lewis. She knew that this was not just about … it’s not a ‘Blackfish’ because of the things she spoke about,” Goode told the L.A. Times. “She certainly wasn’t coerced. The other thing I would say about all these people is that there was a lack of intellectual curiosity to really go and understand or even see these animals in the wild. Certainly, Carole really had no interest in seeing an animal in the wild… The lack of education, frankly, was really interesting — how they had built their own little utopias and really were only interested in that world and the rules they had created.”

Chaiklin added, “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. We could have never known when we started this project that it was going to land where it did.”

“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.

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