The Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness follow-up episode The Tiger King and I was obviously not going to include a new interview with Joseph Maldonado-Passage himself, since he is in prison. However, another key player from the original series was also missing, as Carole Baskin was nowhere to be found. The Big Cat Rescue owner has denounced the project and was not even asked to be in The Tiger King and I.
A representative for Baskin, 58, told Us Weekly she was "not even approached" about appearing in the new episode and "would not participate if asked." Just two days before the new episode was released, Baskin told the Tampa Bay Times she felt betrayed by filmmakers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin. "I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point," she said Friday. "And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that."
Tiger King wound up focusing on Maldonado-Passage and his rivalry with Baskin, who tried to shut down his private Oklahoma zoo. He made dozens of videos saying he wanted to see Baskin dead and even organized a protest outside Big Cat Rescue in Florida. He was also convinced Baskin killed her second husband, Don Lewis, who went missing in 1997. Lewis' disappearance was the focus of an entire episode of Tiger King, even though police have no evidence to link Baskin. Police recently asked the public for help, as the case is still open, 18 years after Lewis was declared legally dead. Meanwhile, Maldonado-Passage is serving prison time for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin.
Baskin claims Goode and Chaiklin got her to participate in the documentary by telling her the film would be similar to Blackfish, which centered on the treatment of captive killer whales. In a blog post late last month, Baskin called the final documentary "salacious and sensational." She wrote, "There is no short, simple way to refute so many lies. If you do want to know the truth, it requires understanding the history of events in the years before my husband's disappearance and the roles and behaviors of the people interviewed in the series, which I have tried to do as concisely as I can below but still requires a few pages."
In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Goode defended his work, noting that Baskin was not coerced into talking about her personal life. "The other thing I would say about all these people is that there was a lack of intellectual curiosity to really go and understand or even see these animals in the wild," he said. "Certainly, Carole really had no interest in seeing an animal in the wild.... 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."
Meanwhile, others in Moldanado-Passage's orbit believe Baskin killed Lewis. "Joe had a whole file cabinet in the office full of all the paperwork proving it way more than the documentary showed," Jeff Lowe, his former business partner, told Us Weekly. "He has handwriting analysis, Carole's diary, just tons of stuff that pointed to her guilt."