'Tiger King''s Carole Baskin Speaks Out About Documentary's 'Lies'
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Featured Image Credit: Netflix
Tiger King is jam-packed with rivalry, suspicion and conspiracy among its eccentric cast of characters.
One of the main conspiracies explored in the Netflix documentary is regarding the disappearance of Don Lewis, the former husband of Big Cat Sanctuary owner Carole Baskin.
The theory that Carole killed her husband is central to Joe Maldonado-Passage (Joe Exotic) and many others' hate campaign against the activist, and it's delved into in detail in episode three.
Now, Carole has accused the documentary of "lying" about the events surrounding her husband's vanishing and other details.
In a statement posted on her website, Carole explained that filmmakers came to her five years ago with the idea of making "the big cat version of Blackfish" (the documentary which explored the abuse at SeaWorld) but "did not do any of that", instead, she says filmmakers had "the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers."
For some background: the sanctuary owner's former husband Don Lewis, a millionaire businessman, went missing in 1997 and was declared officially dead five years later, though his body was never found.
Carole's rivals - including Joe Exotic and Don Lewis's ex wife Gladys Lewis Cross and daughters Donna Pettis, Lynda Sanchez and Gale Rathbone - believe the animal rights advocate had reason to murder her husband, with more extreme theories suggesting she killed him, ground up his body and fed his remains to her tigers.
Phew. You still with us? Take a breath.
This is because in the years before his disappearance, Carole and Don's relationship had began to crumble. The businessman had filed for a restraining order against Carole, and had reportedly told colleagues he feared for his life.
In her blog post, dated 26th March 2020, Carole refutes these claims and the "lies and innuendos from people who are not credible", outlining some of the so-called lies.
Carole begins be reiterating her claims that Don was showing signs of Alzheimers in the years preceding his disappearance, before refuting the claims he was a millionaire when she met him.
She also offers an explanation for the restraining order (which was denied), saying it was filed in order to stop Carole from clearing junk off the property while he spent time in Costa Rica.
Carole goes on to discredit the testimony of her accusers in the documentary.
"As [Don's ex-wife] Gladys and the daughters did everything they could to make life difficult for me after Don disappeared, they spread this rumor that they thought I had ground Don up and fed him to the cats. And the media loved it," she writes.
"The meat grinder shown in the video was enormous. Our meat grinder was one of those little tabletop, hand crank things, like you'd have in your kitchen at home... The idea that a human body and skeleton could be put through it is idiotic. But the Netflix directors did not care. They just showed a bigger grinder."
You can read Carole's full blog post here.
The documentary has become a huge success since its release on the streaming platform last weekend.
Told through a mix of archival and new footage, we learn about the big cat subculture in America and its key players, focusing on the eccentric Joe Exotic, who is currently serving 22 years for a murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin.
But the story appears to be far from over. Carole's blog post comes at the same time as news that Joe Exotic is reportedly launching a $94 million (£78 million) lawsuit from prison.
Exotic - who resides at Grady County Jail in Chickashi, Oklahoma - is claiming a massive conspiracy led him to be locked up, and for the death of his mother.