Tiger King's Carole Baskin Wants Miniseries Adaptation to Avoid Using Real Cats and Feature CGI

Netflix's latest true crime docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness has captured the fascination and attention of viewers since its debut on March 20 and the interest isn't going to stop any time soon. A limited series based on an existing podcast about Joe Exotic and his strange, wild world of big cat conservation is currently in the works with Kate McKinnon set to star as one of the story's most divisive figures, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. Now, Baskin is asking that McKinnon use CGI rather than real cats in the series' production.

In a statement (via Entertainment Weekly), Baskin says it would be "cruel" to use real big cats in the series that is itself about big cat cruelty.

"Kate McKinnon is a wonderful actress. Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series," the statement said. "The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic. It would be cruel to use big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats."

"We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic," the statement continued. "We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America."

Baskin has also been using her newfound celebrity to not just urge the Joe Exotic limited series -- which at this point does not yet have a network or a release date -- but to slam the Netflix series for being "as salacious and sensational as possible to draw in viewers," something that included covering the disappearance of her previous husband, Jack Donald Lewis, which is discussed in the series.

"When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive," Baskin wrote on the blog for Big Cat Rescue. "[The documentary] has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don 21 years ago," she wrote. "The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers."

Producers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin responded to Baskin's claims, stating that that they were not only forthright with their presentation of the characters involved, but that the story shifted a great deal from the time it was pitched to the time it was completed.


"I would just say we were completely forthright with the characters," Chaiklin said. "With any project that goes on for five years, things evolve and change, and we followed it as any good storyteller does. We could have never known when we started this project that it was going to land where it did."

All seven episodes of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness are streaming on Netflix.