Of Course, PETA Is Not Happy About Netflix's Tiger King

Tiger King Joseph Maldonado-Passage Joe Exotic Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

PETA is up in arms over Netflix’s gigantic hit, Tiger King. In recent years, the organization has taken aim at Toy Story 4 (over Bo Peep’s accessory) and the Kevin Costner-starrer Yellowstone regarding cow corpses. Now, PETA has found issue with the Netflix docuseries through a post on its website.

In case you missed it, Tiger King chronicles multiple characters within the big cat industry, including Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic. Exotic recently launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service from prison. In addressing their issues with the show, PETA references a statement Carole Baskin made during the series:

Anybody who poses with an exotic cat is a problem, and that just drives more and more and more breeding of these cats who will never live free.

One of Tiger King’s directors, Eric Goode, revealed that one of the real goals behind the docuseries was to encourage people not to give their money to sanctuaries. For reference, Carole Baskin runs a sanctuary. Goode argued that those wanting to save tigers should support conservation programs instead.

In their own words, PETA’s Katherine Sullivan says that Tiger King glossed over the “why” when it came to what big cats were shown enduring during its coverage of the wild tale. Did the Netflix series do enough when it came to how it addressed some of the practices presented in the show? Sullivan wrote:

Tiger King certainly alludes to the suffering of big cats used in tourist traps, but the docuseries—ultimately focusing on the rivalry between Baskin and Joe Exotic—glosses over why forcing these animals to participate in public encounters or photo ops is never worth it.

The post goes on to make mention of a scene from the series wherein tiger cubs are shown being removed from their mother shortly after they are born, and Tiger King shows this in detail. What makes PETA’s issues with the series all the more interesting is that Tiger King confirms that Joe Exotic ended up working with the organization after his conviction.

In the end, Exotic provided information about wildlife trafficking, according to what PETA’s Brittany Peet told Tiger King. In the docuseries, Peet is captioned as working in the Captive Animal Law Enforcement branch of the organization. PETA’s post comes as Tiger King continues to dominate Netflix viewing.

Based on the streamer’s recently added feature, subscribers know that the docuseries is currently the #1 most-watched content on Netflix in the U.S. over the past 24 hours. For context, the much-anticipated third season of Netflix’s dramatic thriller Ozark did not even manage to outperform it. Season 3 of that show dropped on March 27.

In further proof of Tiger King’s popularity, Jared Leto has even led an online viewing party for the seven-episode series. Still, this PETA post indicates that the organization believes many viewers may miss the point when it comes to what big cats endured in the limelight of the public exposure portrayed.

PETA’s largest issue seems to stem around Tiger King not diving deeper into the reasons why some of the behavior exhibited is wrong. Those behaviors also include big cats appearing on late night shows.

Tiger King touches on the various angles of the big cat industry, including the presentation of “cub petting.” This is a practice that sees tourists take their picture alongside a young tiger cub. It gives rise to multiple voices and commentaries throughout the series, and the final episode delves into the aftermath of its first six installments.

Tiger King is currently streaming on Netflix as one of its 2020 premieres. If you already binged it and are looking for something new, you can check out this spring’s premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.