Tiger King Star Carole Baskin Quits the Series Ahead of Season 2

Florida animal rights activist Carole Baskin has rejected overtures from Netflix to appear in a second season of their Tiger King documentary. Baskin became an instant national celebrity after Tiger King exploded into the zeitgeist last year, complete with intimations by many of the people interviewed that she had arranged to have her second husband murdered. Now living with a third husband, Baskin felt that the original documentary represented a betrayal of the subjects, presenting them as objects of mockery and a group of, potentially, deranged criminals. The Tiger King subject who is currently in prison, Joseph Maldonado-Passage (professional name: Joe Exotic), is serving time for an attempt to get Baskin herself murdered.

In 1997, Baskin's wealthy husband, Don Lewis, disappeared mysteriously. In the documentary, Baskin is accused numerous times, directly and indirectly, of having killed him, or arranged to have him killed, and fed him to the tigers at her Big Cat Rescue. Lewis's body was never found, in spite of two investigations -- one by police, and one by private investigators working for Baskin. He was declared dead in 2002.

"It was just a few weeks ago that [director] Rebecca Chaiklin had reached out asking if we could clear the air," Baskin told The Radio Times. "I have been speaking about how we had been so misled into thinking this was going to be the Blackfish for big cats, and then it turned out to be the freak show that they produced. So when she said she wanted to clear the air, I felt like...that's just absolutely ridiculous. It was so obvious that I had been betrayed by them. Why would she ever think that I would be willing to speak to them again. And so I told her to just lose my number."

She went on to tell the Radio Times that she thinks the documentary gave a prominent voice to critics who had been making the same baseless claims about her for years, but doing so in a vacuum. Suddenly, millions of people have heard the accusations against her, she says, because it made for a better story and made the show easier to sell to Netflix.


At first glance, it would appear that the narrative -- which centered on the feud between Baskin's animal conservatory and Maldonado-Passage's private zoo, and his eventual arrest for trying to have her killed -- is over, with little left for a second season. But in recent months, Baskin was awarded Joe Exotic's former zoo as part of a lawsuit over the attempted murder. Combine that with the newfound celebrity that the colorful cast of characters in Tiger King find themselves enjoying -- or struggling with -- after the documentary aired, and you have the makings of a second season right there.