Carole Baskin is keeping her cool after falling prey to British content creators Josh Pieters and Archie Manners. The Big Cat Rescue CEO and subject of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness was recently pranked into taking part in her first video interview since the docuseries debuted, though instead of a chat with Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon, she was actually speaking to two YouTube pranksters. After dishing out details about everything from the Big Cat Safety Act to how her sanctuary is holding up amid the pandemic, Baskin spoke out about being pranked.
"I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped. But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank. It gave us a very welcome good laugh," Baskin said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don't feel was in any way mean-spirited."
Baskin reiterated that message in a comment she left on the video. First captured by Insider, Baskin said that she was immediately suspicious of the interview and had sent an email to her husband, Howard Baskin, shortly after.
"Well that was weird," she wrote in the email, which she shared in the comment. "I couldn't see Fallon during the interview, and when they had his voice on the questions they didn't sound like it was specific to the topic. He'd just say things they could have recorded from any other interview; like 'What are you doing during quarantine?' At the end he said, 'Miss you buddy,' so that really didn't sound like it was live from him to me."
"They did stick to the questions they gave us, so I just can't tell," she added. "This whole thing may have been a spoof and they said they won't broadcast till next week, and will let us know before they do, but I'm not holding my breath."
In the video shared to YouTube, Pieters and Manners explained how they convinced Baskin to do the interview, explaining that after she initially declined, they got her to say yes after agreeing to only discuss big cats. To fool her, they used pre-recorded sound of Fallon, stating that Baskin would not be able to see him due to the at-home format.
The 12-minute interview, during which Baskin revealed she has had to let some staff go due to the coronavirus pandemic, marked the first time the big cat rescuer has spoken out via video since Tiger King dropped on Netflix in March. While the interview refrained from talk of the docuseries, Baskin has addressed it, previously slamming it as "salacious and sensational" in a statement released shortly after it gained widespread popularity.