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Carole Baskin sues Netflix over Tiger King 2

Staff Writer

The documentary, which premiered last year, follows Joe Exotic, the mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo. He and a cast of characters including drug kingpins, conmen, and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats. But things take a dark turn when Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot.

The series was a global hit, attracting 64 million households in the first four weeks after its premiere. This month, it will return to Netflix for a second season delving deeper into events. Before its release, however, Baskin and her husband, Howard Baskin, have filed a lawsuit against Netflix and producers Royal Goode Productions for using footage of them. According to the documents, which Variety has seen, the duo only signed release forms for their appearance in the first documentary.

“Understanding that the Appearance Releases limited Royal Goode Productions’ use of the footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue to the single, initial documentary motion picture, the Baskins believed that any sequel – though odious – would not include any of their footage,” Variety quotes from the documentary, which reportedly adds that the Baskins were surprised to see footage of them in the trailer for Tiger King 2.

“Throughout the Appearance Releases there is only reference to and mention of ‘the Picture.’ No mention is made of granting Royal Goode Production sequel rights, rights to create derivative works from ‘the Picture’ or additional seasons or episodes,” adds the lawsuit. “By utilizing 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.”

Baskin has criticised the docuseries in the past for its accuracy and sensationalist storytelling, and in the lawsuit alleges that “‘Tiger King 1’ was particularly harsh and unfair in its depiction of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue” and “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”. “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,” it continues.

The Baskins are demanding that Netflix and Royal Goode Productions remove the footage of them from Tiger King 2, which premieres on 17th November. Netflix has not yet publicly commented on the matter.

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