Carole Baskin: Tiger King Filmmakers Fooled Me

'There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal,' she says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2020 1:31 AM CDT
Carole Baskin Reams Tiger King Filmmakers
In this July 20, 2017 photo, founder Carole Baskin walks the property at Big Cat Rescue at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla.   (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Netflix's insanely popular Tiger King has brought quite a bit of attention to Carole Baskin—much of it unwelcome. Now, the Big Cat Rescue founder and her husband, Howard, say the makers of the docuseries were not upfront with them. The Baskins, who have long worked to outlaw the captive tiger trade, say the filmmakers told them they aimed to reveal cruelty in that trade. (In an extensive blog post, Baskin says they were told Tiger King would be "the big cat version of Blackfish.") The Baskins believed that would be the focus of Tiger King—but, as anyone who's watched it knows, that's far from the case. Indeed, Carole Baskin is painted, per the Tampa Bay Times, as "a shady exploiter no better than the abusers she’s spent years trying to shut down," while those abusers are portrayed as "endearing eccentrics."

"There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal," Carole Baskin tells the Times in her first interview since the series premiered. The series focuses quite a bit of speculation on what happened to Baskin's ex-husband, and she says so many death threats have been coming in that she's scared to leave her house. In response to Baskin's blog post refuting Tiger King, one producer tells the Los Angeles Times that Baskin "certainly wasn't coerced" into talking to filmmakers and the other says they were "completely forthright" with everyone involved, but that the series evolved over five years of development. Meanwhile, a surprise eighth episode of the series was released Sunday, and NBC News has some revelations from it for those who haven't watched yet, including the fact that most cast members agree "Joe Exotic" deserves the jail time he's currently serving. (More Tiger King stories.)

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