Tiger King ethics


Photo courtesy of Variety.com

Carole Baskin and one of her caged tigers.

*This article contains spoilers from the first season of “Tiger King”*

As Tiger King quickly gained popularity through shock factor, many viewers overlooked the show’s unethicality.

Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” intimately follows the emotional and legal battles between Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin. The conflict initially began as a result of Baskin publicly bashing Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Park and his mistreatment of animals. Exotic’s exponential hate for Baskin is displayed throughout the documentary as he jokes about the idea of shooting her on many of his YouTube videos. As Exotic creates “Big Cat Rescue Entertainment,” Baskin presses charges for copyright infringement, as the name of her park is “Big Cat Rescue.”

As time and money were spent on legal battles, Exotic’s animal’s became neglected. For example, the animals’ food rations had to be cut because he spent a quarter of a million dollars on a lawyer. Despite Baskin’s initial intent being the fair treatment of animals, emotions got in the way. Baskin’s true feelings about the treatment of animals come into question often throughout the docu-series.

“I live, eat, and breathe, ending the captivity of Wild Cats,” Baskin said in episode one of the show.

Although Baskin supposedly advocates for breaking the cycle of confinement for Big Cats, she keeps them in cages herself.

As the series comes to a close, Joe Dial, Exotic’s former campaign manager, brings light to the fact that as Exotic and Baskin became emotionally involved, their commitment to the fair treatment of animals diminished.