On November 1, 2021, Carole Baskin, star of the sensational “Tiger King” Netflix series, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida stating a claim for breach of contract and a request to enjoin Netflix from airing “Tiger King 2.” Baskin alleged that the “Tiger King” sequel uses interviews and Big Cat Rescue footage without her permission after she refused to participate in the new season. While the Baskins also filed an emergency motion to stop the release of “Tiger King 2”, the emergency motion was denied hours after being filed on November 1, 2021.
According to the complaint, when Royal Goode Productions LLC (i.e., the production company that produces “Tiger King”) approached Baskin and her husband, Howard Baskin, in July 2014, the producers explained that they were shooting a documentary about the wildlife trade. The Big Cat Rescue couple agreed to sit for hours of on-camera interviews and signed appearance releases for the series that was set to air on Netflix.
In September 2018, Royal Goode Productions shared three videos with the Baskins to show its progress on the project; the videos appeared to show Carole Baskin “as the heroine battling” the big cat abuse trade. However, when the trailers for “Tiger King” were released in 2018, on Netflix, it depicted Joe Exotic, the former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park who was convicted in 2019 of attempting to hire a hitman to kill Carole Baskin, as the star of the series. The Baskins argued that the show depicted them in a harsh manner and said it “incorrectly suggests an equivalency between Big Cat Rescue and Joe Exotic’s roadside zoo.”
The complaint further alleges that when Royal Goode Productions approached them to participate in the sequel, Carol Baskin replied: “No. And lose my number.” Nonetheless, when Netflix released the trailer for “Tiger King 2” on October 27, 2021, it was clear that the new series depicts the Baskins as a central element through the use of the footage that was filmed for the first season. Although the new season follows up on the criminal case against Joe Exotic and the lives of the people who were once involved in his zoo, it depicts an in-depth investigation into the theory that Carole Baskin killed her first husband, Don Lewis.
Howard Baskin added, “While we cannot stop Netflix and Royal Goode Productions from producing low-brow, salacious and sensational programming, we do believe that we have the right to control footage filmed of us under false pretenses.”
The Baskins is represented by Frank R. Jakes and Joseph J. Weissman of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns LLP.
Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.
The case is Carole Baskin et al. v. Royal Goode Productions LLC et al., case number 8:21-cv-02558, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
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