Though Joe Exotic is the show’s chief focus, Carole Baskin is rarely far from the limelight in Netflix’s Tiger King, due to the eccentric Exotic’s hell-bent grudge against the animal rights activist.
Viewers are divided on the Big Cat Rescue founder who is presented as the chief opposition to the show’s, for want of a better word, protagonist, Joe Exotic.
In the seven-episode series she is accused of killing her own husband and is the subject of a relentless smear campaign by an increasingly unhinged Exotic.
The series culminates in Exotic being convicted of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin.
Since Tiger King’s release Baskin has been critical of Netflix and the Sheriff in charge of missing persons case for her former husband has appealed for new leads.
What has Baskin said about Tiger King?
In a lengthy blog post titled Refuting Netflix’s Tiger King Carole Baskin criticised Tiger King and it’s creators Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin.
She claimed that they had initially been approached by Goode and Chaiklin with a view to making “big cat version” of Seaworld exposé Blackfish. Instead, Baskin claims, that the series was created with the “sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers”.
In particular she was critical of the portrayal of her husband Don Lewis’ disappearance which dominates episode three.
She claimed that in his final days Don Lewis began exhibiting “strange” behaviour and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
She also refuted claims that he husband was rich when they met and criticised the show for failing to question the majority of interviewees on these claims.
Finally she accused Eric Goode of making the documentary due to her role in the outlawing of pythons in Florida.
Baskin did save a small amount of praise for the documentary saying that it appears “to have reached an audience that had no clue about roadside zoos” and raised awareness of the practices.
What about the missing persons case?
The disappearance of Don Lewis, Carole Baskin’s former husband, dominates episode three.
In her blog, Baskin is scathing of the representation of their relationship and the buildup to his disappearance.
Interviewees in the docu-series float various outlandish theories about the death of Don Lewis, including that he was fed to Tigers and cut up with a meat grinder.
In a scathing section of her blog Baskin claims that Lewis’ former assistant Anne McQueen, who raises suspicions about Baskin’s involvement in Lewis’ disappearance, was caught embezzling $600,000 in property in the lead up to his death.
She also said that Lewis’ ex-wife Gladys and her children, also interviewed, “had strong selfish motivations to lie and make implications about the meat grinder and Don being buried on the property 23 years ago that have absolutely no basis in fact.”
You can read her forensic description of Lewis’ disappearance here.
Since the show’s release on Netflix the Sheriff’s department in charge of the case, which has remained open since 1997, have appealed for leads relating to Don Lewis’ disappearance.
Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County, Florida, revealed he had assigned a detective supervisor to the case due to the show’s popularity.
He claims that they have received up to six leads a day relating to the case following the show’s release in March