By Lauren Sieh
Netflix shows cover many different genres and topics with some being quite peculiar. If you are in the mood to watch the absolute craziest and outlandish yet oddly captivating show, I suggest you check out “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
“Tiger King” is a seven-episode documentary series directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin and was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020. The series is about the life of Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, and focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists and collectors.
The major conflict and emphasis of the series revolves around the contentious hatred between Exotic, the flamboyant owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue.
Baskin alleges that Exotic’s breeding programs, zoo and animal conditions and practice of charging visitors to pet lion or tiger cubs are abusive to the big cats. She makes it her personal mission to end private big-cat ownership in general and Exotic’s private Oklahoma zoo in particular.
In turn, Exotic alleges the conditions at Baskin’s Florida rescue are sub-par, and that Baskin is waging a hypocritical campaign of focused harassment against him by creating websites naming him an animal abuser, hiring people or encouraging PETA to track his movements and damaging his sources of income by likewise badgering potential clients.
Exotic also promotes theories that Baskin was involved in the disappearance of Don Lewis, her second husband, and made frequent death threats towards her on his internet show in anger against her sanctions.
The feud escalates as Baskin organizes protests against Exotic, who retaliates by holding big cat shows with cub petting under trademark knockoffs of Big Cat Rescue’s logos. Big Cat Rescue sues over these trademark infringements, winning a million settlement against Exotic.
After the lawsuit, Exotic and his zoo spiral out of control, suffering many personal, financial and business losses.
As if the whole series is not crazy enough, it gets even crazier with the reveal of Exotic attempting to hire someone to murder Baskin, resulting in his arrest and later conviction.
This is where the series gets confusing and makes you wonder if he really did it or not. With the introduction of Jeff Lowe, a notoriously good con man, Exotic signs his ownership of the zoo over to Lowe, who still is the owner to this day.
Lowe throughout the remainder of the series does some sketchy things and only seems to help fuel Exotic’s hatred towards Baskin. This makes me believe that he may or may not have been the mastermind behind the attempted murder on Baskin rather than Exotic.
This is where I will leave it so you can make your own conclusions. Was the attempt to murder Baskin orchestrated by Exotic? Did Baskin play a part in her husband’s disappearance?
If you are thinking about the next thing to watch on Netflix, I defiantly recommend “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” I rate “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” ten out of ten.
Lauren Sieh reported on this story from her home in Coweta, Oklahoma.