‘Tiger King’: Carole Baskin Says ‘People Have Totally Missed the Point of the Series’

Carole Baskin has been outspoken about her portrayal in Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. The Big Cat Rescue owner at the center of rival, Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic), previously called the docuseries “salacious.” Still, Baskin warns that people have “totally missed the point” of Tiger King.

Baskin said she believed filmmakers would put emphasis on her cause

Carole Baskin in Tiger King
Carole Baskin | Netflix

If there’s one name everyone remembers from Tiger King (aside from “Joe Exotic” himself), it’s Carole Baskin. The animal rights activist has been working for years to bring awareness to pay-to-play operations such as cub-petting.

The seven-part series covered many aspects of the exotic pet industry, notably Maldonado-Passage’s (formerly-named) G.W. Zoo practices, Jeff and Lauren Lowe’s traveling cub-petting party busses in Las Vegas, and the murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.

Since the release of Tiger King, viewers are left talking about everything except animal rights, according to Baskin. Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year sentence for allegedly planning Baskin’s murder, along with several counts of animal abuse for the death of five tigers.

With all of this happening — not to mention the deep dive into Baskin’s missing husband, Don Lewis — how can viewers focus on much else?

Baskin says no one’s focusing on what ‘Tiger King’ says about the industry

In a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Baskin shared her feelings on the many layers of Tiger King.

“I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” she said. “And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that.”

The majority of Tiger King put focus on Baskin’s missing ex-husband (and whether or not she had anything to do with it). However, the series didn’t highlight Baskin’s award of excellence for her “visionary leadership and advocacy efforts to end the private possession and trade in exotic cats through legislation and education,” the outlet reported.

“There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal,” Baskin’s third husband, Howard Baskin, said.

In reference to all the memes circulating which allude to [Carole] Baskin’s guilt, she revealed her frustration.

“They saw those cubs being dragged away from their mother. Where are those memes? Where are those comments?”

Maldonado-Passage’s zoo has been under scrutiny for years

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In 2017, Maldonado-Passage began giving information to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to help his own case.

He “saw PETA as a potential lifeline,” Brittany Peet said via Harper’s Bazaar.

However, Maldonado-Passage had been investigated by the humane society of the United States since 2011 for various animal allegations, Tampa Bay Times continued.

“Things are a lot worse than what was portrayed in the Netflix series,” Debbie Leahy, of the Humane Society said of the G.W. Zoo. “We hold Big Cat Rescue and the Baskins in the highest regard. Not many sanctuaries do rescue and advocacy and Big Cat Rescue does both and they do them very well.”

The Baskins have been working to pass The Big Cat Public Safety Act which “aims to end the private ownership of big cats and ban public interaction with the animals at zoos.”

“I really hope what will come of this is that law enforcement will take this seriously,” [Carole] Baskin said. “We’ve all been screaming at the top of our lungs for 20 years that this abuse was happening, and no one was listening.”

She continued: “Now the abuse is so apparent, I hope it will encourage them to take action on it and inspire Congress to do what they can to end cub petting and private possession of big cats.”

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is available to stream now.