Tiger King may be the world’s newest obsession on Netflix, but not everyone is entirely thrilled. The doc, which takes a long, hard look at the world of American wild animal collectors, recently came under fire from a few people featured in the series. However, Tiger King producers have responded to Carole Baskin’s criticism by defending their project and insisting that, despite her objections over how she was portrayed, she "wasn’t coerced" in any way, shape, or form.
Shortly after the documentary aired, Baskin made a point of slamming the Tiger King producers in a blog post on her Big Cat Rescue website on Sunday, March 22, claiming that the project was originally pitched to her as being a "big cat version of Blackfish." She added that she found the finished project to be full of "lies and innuendos," especially in regards to the 1997 disappearance of her second husband, Jack Donald Lewis. Baskin especially didn’t like the insinuations implied that she had anything to do with her late husband’s death — he was officially declared dead in 2002.
However, while speaking with the Los Angeles Times recently, co-producer Eric Goode responded to Baskin’s criticisms with a few comments of his own. "Carole talked about her personal life, her childhood, abuse from her first and second husband, the disappearance of her ex, Don Lewis," Goode told the outlet. "She knew that this was not just about … it’s not a Blackfish because of the things she spoke about. She certainly wasn’t coerced."
Goode went on to discuss how he found most of the subjects within the documentary to have a "lack of intellectual curiosity" about actually seeing any of these animals in their natural habitats. "Certainly, Carole really had no interest in seeing an animal in the wild," he added. "The lack of education, frankly, was really interesting — how they had built their own little utopias and really were only interested in that world and the rules they had created."
Goode’s co-producer Rebecca Chaiklin also insisted that they had been completely forthright with each subject the entire time of filming. "With any project that goes on for five years, things evolve and change, and we followed it as any good storyteller does," Chaiklin explained during the same LA Times interview. "We could have never known when we started this project that it was going to land where it did."
But just because Baskin isn’t a fan of the series, doesn’t mean everyone involved feels the same way. Chaiklin revealed she and Goode are still in contact with Joe Exotic, who is serving a 22-year prison sentence for hiring a hitman to murder Baskin, and that he is beyond thrilled at the level of fame he has reached since Tiger King‘s Netflix debut. "He is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous," Goode stated, while Chaiklin added, "You can hardly talk to him without him mentioning the amount of press he’s getting."
Unfortunately, Baskin doesn’t share his enthusiasm over the whole thing. But then again, these two were never able to agree on anything, so why start now?
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