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After Carole Baskin Filed Tiger King 2 Lawsuit, Netflix Responded With Cat-Like Confidence

Carole Baskin talks to a cameraman on Netflix's Tiger King.
(Image credit: Netflix)

We’re just over a week away from Netflix’s release of Tiger King 2, and while we knew Carole Baskin — Joe Exotic’s nemesis who was featured heavily in Season 1 — refuses to have anything more to do with the Netflix docuseries, it looks like Baskin isn’t about to roll over in her tiger cage either. The Big Cat Rescue CEO and her husband Howard Baskin filed a complaint against Netflix last week alleging breach of contract regarding their appearance in promotional material for Season 2.

Netflix doesn’t seem to be too worried about the Baskins’ claims, however, saying that the big cat enthusiasts signed multiple releases for Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness in 2019 that, according to court documents obtained by People, "explicitly permit Defendants to use the footage in later projects.” The streaming service and Royal Goode Productions said despite Carole Baskin’s wish to disassociate from Tiger King 2, Netflix had already secured all of the necessary paperwork from the Baskins to use the footage. The defendants explained in the court documents:

Defendants did not need to obtain a release from Plaintiffs to use the footage in Tiger King 2 or its promotional trailers. And there is nothing in any of the appearance releases that prohibits any use of the footage. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have no claim at all, much less one that can evade Defendants' First Amendment.

Strong words from Netflix, to be sure, but it’s no surprise after everything Carole Baskin has dealt with since the first season of Tiger King aired that she’d do everything in her power to get as far away from the project as possible. In Tiger King's first season, which became a binge sensation in early 2020 as much of the country was stuck at home quarantining from COVID, Joe Exotic accused Baskin of being involved in the disappearance her first husband, Don Lewis. 

In the aftermath of the series, the authenticity of Don Lewis’ will was called into question, with a Florida sheriff saying the signature on Lewis’ will had been found to be “100 percent a forgery.” And as Carole Baskin competed on Dancing With the Stars (in tiger-themed numbers, naturally), Lewis’ family aired a commercial asking for information about his disappearance. Lewis’ three daughters and his former assistant also filed a lawsuit against Baskin regarding jokes that had been made at Lewis’ expense on Dancing With the Stars and Good Morning America.

Carole Baskin slammed Tiger King and its creators earlier this year, calling the series “a reality show dumpster fire.” She’s openly discussed how the finished docuseries was not what she had discussed with the directors, and she disagreed with the way she was portrayed in the series. Along with the legal trouble, Baskin said she spent months repairing relationships with her friends and family over what they saw on the Netflix show. Her concern that the same thing will happen after Tiger King 2’s release is why she says she will be tuning in to Netflix come November 17.

Along with the upcoming Netflix release, Kate McKinnon’s Peacock series Joe Exotic is also in development, with the Saturday Night Live veteran set to play Carole Baskin. No release date has been set for that, but stay up to date with our 2021 TV Schedule to see what’s premiering through the end of the year.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.