Although Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin hasn't been shy about turning her Tiger King fame into new opportunities, she is not planning to participate in the second season of the Netflix documentary series, if one ever came to fruition. Baskin made it very clear she felt "betrayed" by the series' filmmakers and even declined to appear in the hastily prepared The Tiger King and I special. Netflix has never officially announced a second season, but Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness co-director Eric Goode said a follow-up was possible.
In a new interview with Page Six, Baskin claims she was approached to appear in Tiger King Season 2, but she told them to "lose my number." She continued, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Baskin, who will be speaking about cyberbullying at an upcoming Virtual Influencer Summit, added that she constantly received calls from people "screaming obscenities" at her in the three months after Tiger King was released. It has slowed down and Baskin said she "didn't take it personally," but it "really affected" her husband, Howard Baskin, and his daughter. "If someone said something about someone you love, you would want to protect them," Baskin added.
The cut of Tiger King that millions of Netflix subscribers watched in March 2020 focused on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, a flamboyant Oklahoma zookeeper who was later convicted on federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder for hire for a plot to kill Baskin. An episode of the series also focused on allegations that Baskin may have been involved with the mysterious disappearance of her second husband, Don Lewis, who was declared legally deceased in 2002. Baskin has repeatedly denied involvement in Lewis' death and was never charged with a crime. Exotic accused her of killing Lewis and even feeding his body to animals.
After the special aired, Baskin gave several interviews in response, claiming she felt betrayed by Goode and the producers. She thought the series would be a "Blackfish-style" takedown of the illegal exotic pet trade, but it instead focused on the sensationalistic aspects of Exotic's story. "I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point," Baskin said in an April 2020 Tampa Bay Times interview. "And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that." Her representatives also said she was never approached to appear in The Tiger King and I and would not participate even if she was.
Producers Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin defended the series in a Los Angeles Times interview. "I would just say we were completely forthright with the characters," Chaiklin said in late March. "With any project that goes on for five years, things evolve and change, and we followed it as any good storyteller does. We could have never known when we started this project that it was going to land where it did."
While Baskin disapproved of the final Tiger King series, she has not been opposed to the national spotlight the series gave her. She has since appeared on Dancing With the Stars, endorsed a mobile game, and launched a novelty cryptocurrency. "Tiger King came out when lockdown happened, you had Joe Exotic saying ‘Carole Baskin was responsible for everything wrong.’ People needed someone to blame. It was a perfect storm," Baskin told Page Six. "Had it aired right now, it would have been a different experience... It was still cleverly edited and had things that weren’t true, but I don’t think there would have been a global vitriol and outpouring because people were so scared at the time."