TAMPA, Fla. - Social media has been buzzing about the Netflix documentary, 'Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,' but the CEO of Big Cat Rescue says the series is full of "unsavory lies."
Carole Baskin, the founder of the Tampa-based organization, has spoken out against Netflix. In a blog post on the Big Cat Rescue website, she wrote she was "disappointed" in the docuseries and called it "sensational."
The documentary is made of up seven episodes with a cast of eccentric characters and follows the life of the former Oklahoma zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who goes by "Joe Exotic." It includes his failed murder-for-hit plot against Baskin.
Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in January.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic (SRCSO photo)
While the series dived into the bitter rivalry between him and Baskin, it also focused on the circumstances involving the disappearance of Baskin's husband, Don Lewis.
For an entire episode, the documentary provided the theories around his disappearance -- even one that implied Lewis' body was placed in a meat grinder and was fed to tigers.
“The meat grinder shown in the video was enormous. Our meat grinder was one of those little tabletop, hand crank things, like you’d have in your kitchen at home,” Baskin wrote in her blog post.
“Don was not easy to live with and like most couples we had our moments,” Baskin added. “But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance. When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police.”
This week, Maldonado-Passage filed a federal lawsuit against several government agencies and his former business partner, Jeffrey Lowe, asking for $94 million in damages. Lewis was also involved in "Tiger King."
One of Maldonado-Passage's allegations, according to court documents, was a wildlife agent “knowingly accepted statements he knew were false, allowing his witnesses to lie under oath. Misleading a grand jury and not seeking the truth to further an animal rights agenda. False arrest, entrapment, false imprisonment, all contributing to my mother’s death.”
During his trial, evidence was provided showing he paid a man $3,000 to travel to Tampa and murder Baskin.
"When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive," the blog post read in part.
You can read Baskin's full statement in her blog.