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Tiger King 2: Carole Baskin sues Netflix over unagreed footage


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Carole Baskin and her husband Howard are suing Netflix for breach of contract after footage of the couple was included in the trailer for Tiger King 2.

Their lawsuit states they only signed appearance release forms for the first season of the Netflix docu-series.

“The Baskins believed that any sequel – though odious – would not include any of their footage,” the spokesman said.

Netflix declined to comment when contacted by BBC News.

Tiger King, which was produced by Royal Goode Productions, followed the rivalry between eccentric Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and animal rights activist Baskin.

The show became a cultural phenomenon in March 2020, fuelled partly by the pandemic-enforced lockdowns.

Carole Baskin, the owner and CEO of the Big Cat Rescue in Florida, later said she was unhappy with how she had been presented and described the series as “a reality show dumpster fire”.

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The lawsuit states: “By utilising the film footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue secured by Royal Goode Productions under the Appearance Releases in ‘sizzle reels’ and promotional trailers for the sequel entitled Tiger King 2, the defendants are in breach of the terms of the Appearance Releases.”

The Baskins want Royal Goode Productions and Netflix to drop all footage of them from Tiger King 2 and are seeking to take the case in front of a jury.

Joe Exotic and a tiger
Image caption,Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence

The lawsuit also claims the first series gave a false impression of the work of Big Cat Rescue and unfairly accused the Baskins of animal abuse.

“The Tiger King 1 series wrongly attempted to suggest that Big Cat Rescue abused its animals by keeping them in very small cages while not making clear that the animals actually reside in expansive enclosures,” the legal papers state.

“Perhaps most pernicious is the overarching implication in Tiger King 1 that Carole Baskin was involved in the disappearance of her first husband in 1997,” the papers say.

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Baskin has repeatedly denied that she had anything to do with the disappearance of her first husband Don Lewis.

The new series, which begins on 17 November, will cover “newfound revelations… on the motivations, back stories, and secrets of America’s most notorious big cat owners”, Netflix said in a statement last week.

The trailer touches on the campaign to release Exotic from prison and the plot to kill Baskin.

Image caption,Tiger King became a viral Netflix hit at the height of the pandemic

In 2018, Exotic, the owner of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was arrested and accused of hiring two men to murder Baskin.

The following year he was found guilty of multiple federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder and was sentenced to a 22-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Exotic is currently appealing the sentence and has sold his zoo.

In January the new owners of the zoo, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, were ordered by the federal court to relinquish all the lion and tiger cubs in their possession, along with the animals’ mothers, to the federal government.

The animal park was accused of having violated the US’s Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.

The Baskins have since collaborated with film-maker Michael Webber on the 2021 documentary The Conservation Game.

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