While it’s easy to hate nearly everyone who appears in Netflix’s hit docuseries Tiger King, the least awful of the show’s villains may be Carole Baskin, the arch-nemesis of big cat breeder Joe Exotic. Sure, there are rumors that Baskin may have fed her already incredibly shady husband to her tigers. But the show presents no evidence or reason to believe the murder claim other than Exotic’s insistence that it’s true. And somehow, in a show where men were literally hired to kill Baskin, many fans have walked away cheering for Exotic.
Baskin is rightfully mad about her edit in Tiger King and the focus on her husband’s death. In a new interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Baskin says she has received a flood of death threats since the show aired and has seen “as many as 30 people a day” hanging outside her Big Cat Sanctuary. She can no longer bike to the sanctuary from her home after being accosted by people.
Baskin says she initially trusted Tiger King’s mission because of producer Eric Goode’s work as the founder of the Turtle Conservancy and the fact that another producer worked on the dolphin hunting documentary The Cove. “I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” Baskin says. She adds that the series did not portray the massive size of her sanctuary, where the smallest enclosure is 1,200 square feet, even though the show makes it seem like her sanctuary is too small for the tigers.
In a lengthy statement posted to her website on April 12, Baskin also refuted a lot of Tiger King’s claims such as elaborating on salaries at the sanctuary (the show portrays all labor as being done by volunteers) and the years leading up to her husband Don Lewis’s death, during which Baskin said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and behaved erratically. “Don was not easy to live with and like most couples, we had our moments,” she writes. “But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance.”