Any look back at 2020 worth its salt will undoubtedly include the Netflix phenomenon “Tiger King,” a documentary series that featured a bona fide loony tune named Joe Exotic (real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage) and the toxic and bizarre feud he had with another quirky character named Carole Baskin.
The year ended with Joe Exotic being held in a Texas prison, begging President Bush for a pardon, and Baskin enjoying life as a pseudo-celebrity, making the rounds of cable news shows and having her costume being one of the best sellers of this past Halloween.
On Wednesday, Baskin made an appearance on Fox Business and explained to a worldwide audience that the drama between her and Joe Exotic highlighted on the show was essentially fabricated. “That was a freak show like nobody’s ever seen,” Baskin said in what will go down as one of the biggest understatements of the year.
Joe Exotic is serving a 22-year prison term after being convicted of a murder-for-hire plot. The target of the plot was Baskin, and she said on Fox that despite how the drama was played out on the Netflix series, she barely spoke to Joe Exotic, and she has not been in contact with him at all since he’s been in prison. “Joe and I had never, in fact, actually even had a conversation with each other prior to all of this. So the whole idea that was painted as this big feud between us was just fabricated for the purpose of this show,” Baskin said.
She admitted that she went after Joe Exotic because of her perception that he was abusing big cats. As for his downfall, his love of the spotlight did him no favors, as he appeared to enjoy playing for the cameras and fueling the belief that he was obsessed with Baskin and her attempts to shut down his zoo. It all led to “Tiger King” being one of the biggest entertainment obsessions of the year of the pandemic.
“I think it was a perfect storm that caused the popularity. We had all been locked in our rooms by Mother Nature March 15, and then on March 20 ‘Tiger King’ came out. It was like a dumpster fire. You just couldn’t look away from it.”