On Thursday, Netflix announced the new “Tiger King” series with brief footage of Baskin and Joe Exotic, with the latter phoning in from jail, where he is currently serving a 17-year sentence for attempting a murder-for-hire plot aimed at Baskin.
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In a phone call with Variety on Thursday afternoon, Baskin said she knew that “Tiger King” directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode were filming more content, but she didn’t expect it to be finished so soon, after the original docuseries premiered in March 2020 and took the world by storm.
“I know some people who have been involved in it and they were doing more filming, so I assumed at some point they would come out with a ‘Tiger King 2.’ It took them five years to put together the first one, so I thought it would be a lot longer,” she told Variety.
After the original “Tiger King” debuted, she said that the directors tried to “clear the air” with her, but she told them to “lose my number because that was not at all what we had agreed we were working on.
“I wouldn’t call Eric Goode or Rebecca Chaiklin true documentarians. I mean that was just a reality show dumpster fire,” she said of “Tiger King.”
The original docuseries became a pandemic hit for Netflix, as it examined exotic animal trafficking and abuse, in addition to allegations that Baskin murdered her second husband, Don Lewis, which Baskin has repeatedly denied.
However, Baskin is expecting that she’ll have to watch “Tiger King 2,” just like she watched the original series, in order to set the record straight about wildlife endangerment.
“My phone started ringing off the hook for three months straight, people cursing at me and telling me that they wanted to burn the place to the ground and they wanted to kill me and my family and the cats. So whatever ‘Tiger King 2’ does, I’ll have that same reaction from the public that has been misled. I’ll have to spend a lot of time explaining to them how they have been misled, which means I have to watch it,” she told Variety.
She added, “I think there’s a Mark Twain quote about a lie making its way around the world faster than the truth can get its pants on, and that’s true because people just love a good lie.”
In lieu of watching “Tiger King 2,” Baskin recommended watching the “The Conservation Game,” and supporting the Big Cat Rescue bill. The documentary, which has the support of PETA and The Humane Society, follows an animal activist as he investigates the corruption within the exotic pet trade. Cargo Film & Releasing handled the theatrical distribution of the film, which screened in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C.
“If people want to know the actual truth behind the big cat crisis in the U.S. and how it all started, they should be demanding to see ‘The Conservation Game’ film by Michael Webber,” Baskin said in an emailed statement to Variety. “His film answers the important questions that ‘Tiger King’ glossed over.”
As for “Tiger King 2,” Baskin doesn’t have much hope in the follow-up by Chaiklin and Goode. “Why would I believe them? They’ve already shown who they are. They can’t back off of that ledge.”
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