Carol Baskin yanks lawsuit against Netflix and ‘Tiger King’ producers over sequel

Carole Baskin
Baskin says she's received a flood of death threats since 'Tiger King' debuted in March 2020.

Big Cat Rescue owner Carol Baskin and her husband, Howard Baskin, have dropped a lawsuit against Netflix and production company Royal Good Productions aimed at blocking the release of the “Tiger King 2” documentary series — a month after the full series debuted on the platform.

On Wednesday, lawyer Frank Jakes filed notice of “voluntary dismissal” of legal action on the Baskins’ behalf with a U.S. District Court in Tampa.

Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington approved the dismissal “without prejudice,” according to Deadline.

The lawsuit centered on the Baskins’ argument that Netflix, director Rebecca Chaiklin and producer Eric Goode had no right to use footage left over from the Emmy-nominated, 13-part docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” which launched on the streaming platform at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Its five-episode sequel, “Tiger King 2,” began streaming on Netflix Nov. 17. A three-episode third season, “The Doc Antle Story,” hit Netflix Sunday.

While the original and follow-up entries in the series centered largely on flamboyant former zookeeper and convicted felon Joseph Maldonado-Passage (known as Joe Exotic), the Baskins featured heavily in many episodes. Viewers focused on Baskin — whose former husband, Don Lewis, went missing in 1997 and was declared dead in 2002 — as potentially responsible for her husband’s disappearance, spurred by Exotic’s repeated speculation in the show that she fed Lewis to tigers on her property.

Baskin has said she has received a flood of death threats since.

The Baskins signed deals with Royal Good Productions in 2016 and 2018 allowing footage to be filmed of them and their Tampa zoo.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 1 by Tampa law firm Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, they sought an injunction against the release of “Tiger King 2,” arguing the “unauthorized use” of film footage of them and Big Cat Rescue would cause them “irreparable injury” for which they had “no adequate remedy at law.”

Within hours, Judge Hernandez Covington denied the couple’s request.

Less than two weeks later, “Carol Baskin’s Cage Fight” launched on Discovery+. The two-part documentary series features the couple and a team of investigators looking into the treatment of lions, tigers and other big cats in captivity — including searching for evidence of animal abuse and killings at G.W. Zoo, which Exotic owned and where much of the original “Tiger King” footage was shot.

“It’s the work we’ve actually been doing for decades to gather the information of these people who are abusing and exploiting these magnificent animals,” Baskin told Good Morning America Nov. 29.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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