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Carole Baskin bites back on Netflix’s ‘Tiger King 2’

The much-maligned owner of Big Cat Rescue wants previous footage removed from the Joe Exotic-inspired docuseries sequel.

TAMPA, Fla. (CN) — Carole Baskin, the animal sanctuary owner profiled in “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” sued Netflix and the documentary’s production company on Monday, seeking to stop the release of an upcoming sequel.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, Baskin and her husband Howard claim New York-based Royal Goode Productions cannot use footage of interviews with the couple made in 2016 and 2018 for the upcoming “Tiger King 2” without a separate appearance release.

“Throughout the appearance releases, there is only reference to and mention of ‘the picture,’” the 21-page complaint states. “No mention is made of granting Royal Goode Production sequel rights, rights to create derivative works from ‘the picture’ or additional seasons or episodes.”

And, as the lawsuit chronicles, the Baskins are not amiable to signing another release, deriding the original documentary as portraying Carole as “the villain.”

The producers “contacted the Baskins asking to meet to ‘clear the air’ and presumably seeking to secure their participation in the sequel,” the lawsuit states. “Carole Baskin’s response was clear and unequivocal: ‘No. And lose my number.’”

Furthermore, the Baskins allege the recently released trailer for “Tiger King 2,” which contains some of that footage, already constitutes a breach of contract.

Netflix and Royale Goode Productions could not be immediately reached for comment.

Released in March 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns began, Netflix released “Tiger King,” a miniseries chronicling the downfall of Joe Exotic, also known as Joseph Maldonado-Passage, an eccentric Oklahoma zookeeper.

Much of the series focused on the feud between Maldonado-Passage and Baskin, who has worked for decades to shut down for-profit “roadside zoos” that she says mistreat tigers and other big cats. Baskin herself opened a sanctuary in Tampa, Big Cat Rescue, to take in big cats taken from those zoos.

Some episodes of the docuseries delved into a cold case involving the disappearance of Baskin’s former husband and offered up several theories, including that Baskin fed him to her tigers at the sanctuary. Maldonado-Passage even made a YouTube music video — “Here Kitty Kitty” — that shows a Baskin doppelgänger feeding a tiger scraps of meat while he sings about the alleged murder.

The quarrel between the two culminated in a murder-for-hire plot that landed Maldonado-Passage behind bars on a 22-year sentence.

The documentary garnered tens of millions of views the first month alone.

In exhibits submitted to the court, Howard Baskin signed releases for a documentary called “Stolen World” and an unnamed film. The documents state the producer can use the recordings “in connection with the picture and all ancillary and subsidiary uses thereof and all advertising and publicity therefore and to exploit the picture in any and all manner and media now known or hereafter devised, throughout the world, in perpetuity.” The releases also bar any claims from actions arising from “the picture or the recordings.”

The Netflix trailer for the sequel describes the upcoming documentary as: “We thought the mayhem was over. But we’ve only scratched the surface.” The rumors surrounding Baskin’s former husband play an important part and clips of her appear throughout.  

“Tiger King 2” is scheduled for release on Nov. 17.

Baskin is represented by Frank Jakes of the Tampa-based Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel and Burns law firm.

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