Tiger King’s Carole Baskin Gains Control Over Joe Exotic’s Zoo

Carole Baskin in Tiger King (2020)

Anyone who’s seen Netflix’s Tiger King knows that one of the focal points of the widely viewed docuseries was the rivalry between Joe Exotic and big-cat activist and sanctuary owner Carole Baskin. Baskin took issue with Exotic’s Oklahoma-based Zoo. This resulted in a feud that spread across the internet and, eventually, into the courtroom. Now, there’s been a major turning point in Baskin’s legal battle with Exotic’s company, one that has granted her control of his former territory.

A federal judge has granted Carole Baskin control of the zoo that belonged to Joseph Maldonado-Passage (Joe Exotic), per the Courtroom News Service. Exotic, who is currently serving a stint in prison on two counts of murder for hire, was sued by Baskin for trademark infringement before he was arrested. The judge ruled in Baskin’s favor and required Exotic to pay her roughly $1 million, though Baskin never received the full total. Now, the judge has ruled that Maldanado-Passage’s properties were “fraudulently transferred,” resulting in Baskin receiving ownership of them.

In addition to owning the 16 acres of land, Carole Baskin was also given ownership of several cabins and vehicles on the premises.

The judge has also ordered fellow Tiger King star Jeff Lowe, who is the current operator of Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park, to leave the property within 120 days and remove all of the animals. In a statement to CNN, Lowe’s attorney revealed that they weren’t surprised by the verdict:

We anticipated Carol Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so. All of Jeff's focus is on opening the new Tiger King Park in Thackerville, (Oklahoma), which should be opening in the next 120 days.

Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic’s rivalry was intense from the start. Baskin used social media to speak out against Exotic and, in response, the zoo owner created brutal videos in which he used Baskin’s likeness.

Following Tiger King’s debut, Carole Baskin has quickly achieved fame and has easily become one of the most recognizable faces from the show. However, she’s also become the subject of scrutiny herself, specifically in regard to the circumstances surrounding her first husband’s death.

Nevertheless, numerous scripted TV and film adaptations of Tiger King are currently in development and several stars, including Tara Reid are being circled to play the animal rights activist.

With Joe Exotic now in prison and Carole Baskin in possession of his assets, it would appear that their infamous rivalry has finally reached its conclusion. At this point, it’s unclear as to what exactly Baskin plans to do with the land, but there’s a firm chance that we’ll find out sooner rather than later. If you’ve still yet to see the Tiger King docuseries, it’s currently available to stream on Netflix.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.