"Nearly everyone on Tiger King is terrible," Princess Weekes writes at The Mary Sue, before going on to ponder why so many people online seem to consider Carole Baskin of Florida the "worst."
Is it because of the docuseries' focus on Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage, the mullet-sporting, self-aggrandizing zoo owner who ultimately winds up behind bars for a murder-for-hire plot targeting Baskin? Is it because people believe the show's implications that Baskin may have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of her millionaire husband? Is it just because Baskin is "weird, slightly unsettling, and a bit of a hypocrite," as Weekes writes?
By all accounts, the hit Netflix series had its genesis in a genuine attempt to film an exposé about big cat owners and the weird, interconnected world they seem to inhabit. But when you're filming a documentary about zoo owners and a murder-for-hire plot lands in your lap, you run with it. So the docuseries morphed into the story of the feud between Baskin and Joe Exotic. Baskin runs a nonprofit big cat sanctuary in Florida, and makes it her personal mission to end the captivity of big cats - which means shutting down private zoos like Joe's.
Baskin claims that Joe was just one of many big cat breeders she was trying to bring down, but for Joe, the feud became personal. He took to attacking Baskin regularly on his internet show, to the point of staging mock executions. Finally, he went to jail, partly on charges that he hired a hitman to take the life of Carole Baskin. While the series spends most of its time with Joe, there's plenty of airtime devoted to other breeders and to Baskin, including a conspiracy theory that she may have been responsible for the death of her millionaire husband and even fed him to the tigers.
But since the documentary spends so much time on Joe's point of view, and because it has been so easy for audiences to dislike Baskin, we thought it would be a good idea to shed light on some of the things that the series downplayed - or left out entirely - about her story, the disappearance of her husband, and her feud with the self-styled "Tiger King."