Tiger King star Carole Baskin said in a new interview that she’s getting death threats as she slammed the makers of the hit Netflix documentary.
The animal activist, 58, and her husband, Howard Baskin, spoke to the Tampa Bay Times in her first interview since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness debuted on the streaming service on March 20 and claimed that she thought that the documentary was going to be about her work to expose animal abuse in the captive tiger trade.
“I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” Carole said. “And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that.”
“There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of feeling of betrayal,” her husband added.
The series focuses on former zoo owner Joe Exotic, who is currently serving 22 years in prison for 17 counts of animal abuse and two charges of murder for hire after paying someone to kill Carole, his nemesis.
But while the series told Exotic’s story, it also shed a light on the 1997 disappearance of Baskin’s then-husband Don Lewis, with whom she founded her nonprofit animal sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, near Tampa, Florida.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, claimed that Carole killed her millionaire husband and fed him to her tigers. While she is not considered a suspect and has denied being involved in Lewis’ disappearance, the Hillsborough County sheriff reopened the missing persons cold case in the wake of the success of Tiger King.
Carole told the Tampa Bay Times that she now fears leaving her home because of the flood of death threats she’s received since Tiger King began streaming. While her accredited 67-acre sanctuary is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, she said she has seen drones flying over her home and claimed a doorbell camera captured up to 30 people a day hanging out at the gates of Big Cat Rescue.
She added that she has stopped riding her bike on the 30-minute journey from her home to the sanctuary because it’s too risky and claimed she’s been ambushed by people waiting for her on the side of the road and yelling at her.
While she has traditionally responded to calls for help when police, veterinarians and others have discovered injured bobcats and panthers, Carole said she’s worried that the calls she is now getting could be traps to lure her into dangerous situations instead of real emergencies.
“I’ve had to turn my phone off,” she said. “I can’t tell the real ones from the fake ones because they’re always out of state numbers anyway.”
Netflix is debuting a new episode of Tiger King, a reunion special, on Sunday, April 12.
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