Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness star Carole Baskin has one request for the upcoming Joe Exotic TV series. Based on Wondery's podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King, the series is executive produced and by SNL star Kate McKinnon, who is also slated to take on the role of Baskin, Exotic's longtime nemesis. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Basking encouraged McKinnon to remain faithful to the character she is playing by not using big cats for the production.
"Kate McKinnon is a wonderful actress. Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series," Baskin said in the statement. "The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic. It would be cruel to use real big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats."
Baskin, who owns the Citrus Park, Florida Big Cat Rescue, rose to national attention following the March debut of the Netflix docuseries. Baskin originally agreed to be part of the seven-part series after it was pitched to her as a Blackfish for big cats, she has claimed in multiple statements.
Now, she suggests that instead of live animals, the upcoming McKinnon-led series instead uses a little Hollywood magic, bringing the big cats to life by way of CGI.
"We urge McKinnon to utilize computer-generated imagery (CGI) of cats in the show rather than forcing real big cats to suffer just to entertain the audience," the statement continued. "We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic. We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America."
Baskin's hopes for the upcoming TV series are being echoed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who has also requested that McKinnon and Universal Content Productions refrain from using live animals.
"PETA sent urgent letters asking Kate McKinnon and Universal Content Productions not to use real animals in their upcoming series about Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka 'Joe Exotic')," a statement reads in part. "While we don't anticipate that a story about wild-animal abuse would feature real animals, who suffer when used for television, we do hope to hear right away that computer-generated imagery, animatronics, or even existing footage—instead of big cats and other wild animals—will be used for the show."
The upcoming miniseries does not yet have a network or a premiere date. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is available for streaming on Netflix.