'Tiger King': Did Carole Baskin Really Sit Next to Britney Spears at the 2002 VMAs?

Despite photos circulating online that seemingly show Carole Baskin sitting next to Britney Spears at the 2002 VMAs, representatives for the Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness star are shooting down the rumors. In a statement to Vanity Fair, representatives for Baskin cleared the air, confirming that the woman, donning all leopard print, is "not Carole."

Rumors that Baskin had attended the awards ceremony alongside the popstar were sparked shoryly after the docuseries debuted on Netflix. As social media users went wild over the bizarre story, one eagle-eyed viewer spotted a woman with an uncanny resemblance to Baskin seated next to Spears at the 2002 event. Making the scenario seem even more plausible was the fact that fellow Tiger King star Bhagavan "Doc" Antle had been photographed on stage with Spears just a year earlier during her 2001 VMAs performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U."

Ultimately, though, Baskin doesn't seem to have any connections to Spears, aside from two posts shared to her blog back in 2006 and 2008 referencing Spears' use of animals in some of her music videos. Baskin does, however, have a connection to another big name star.

In November of 2019, it was confirmed that SNL star Kate McKinnon was set to portray Baskin in an upcoming Joe Exotic TV series. In a statement to Vanity Fair, Baskin encouraged McKinnon and the series, which does not yet have a network or a premiere date, to refrain from using real animals.

"Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series," the statement read. "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."


"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," it added. "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."

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is currently available for streaming.