Thanks to the new culture of sitting indoors on our asses for the sake of public health, Tiger King has become a spectacular success on Netflix: The docuseries, which follows a bunch of criminally eccentric zoo folk over the course of seven episodes, is one of the most popular titles the streaming service has ever seen. One of these personalities is none other than Carole Baskin, who runs a prominent animal sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, down in Florida with her third husband, Howard Baskin. However, her work as an animal rights activist (and the fact that a rival zoo owner tried to hire someone to murder her) was eclipsed by a juicier allegation woven throughout Tiger King, which was that she not only killed her second husband, but fed him to a gang of loyal tigers. In her first interview since the show’s premiere, Baskin is now opening up about the indignation she feels toward the producers, and how she believes they purposely misrepresented the project to secure her participation.
“I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” she told the Tampa Bay Times. “And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that.” Her husband, Howard, added that “there’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal.” Baskin says that she said yes to Tiger King under the belief their “cause” would be the main focus, as the producers had previously worked on several projects that focused on animal conservancy. However, an entire episode was ultimately dedicated to the disappearance and presumed death of Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis, which became a quick source of social media and tabloid fascination. The county sheriff’s office that serves Tampa, Florida, is also investigating new leads for the case.
“They saw those cubs being dragged away from their mother,” Baskin told the Tampa Bay Times. “Where are those memes? Where are those comments?” Baskin says she’s now afraid to leave her home because of frequent death threats, and she’s disconnected her phone for her safety. She’s hopeful, though, that Tiger King was able to shine some light on animal abuse. “I really hope what will come of this is that law enforcement will take this seriously,” she concluded. “We’ve all been screaming at the top of our lungs for 20 years that this abuse was happening, and no one was listening.”