Is Carole Baskin the villain in Tiger King? 


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New Netflix hit features tigers in a different, dramatic light.

Erin Regan and Nicki Ganti, Managing Editor and Features Editor

Okay. So we are going to acknowledge the fact that she may have killed her husband. Also, we recognize that Carole Baskin’s “sanctuary” is no better than Doc Antle’s in terms of treatment of the animals. Furthermore, she wears flower crowns even though it is 2020. She has a similar personality to Hillary Clinton, whatever that means to you. One of the reasons why we really hate her is the fact that Joe Exotic never made a Christmas album because he hates “caroles/carols.” She robbed us. We also hate her and Howard’s wedding photos, it is too close to furryism. 

Doc Antle, Jeff Lowe, and Joe Exotic are all more problematic than Carole and her husband. 

Doc Antle’s treatment of animals in terms of breeding and cub petting is morally dubious. What makes Doc Antle a sick human being is the fact that he grooms young women, forces them to get plastic surgery in order to fulfill his own sexual fantasies, and exploits his workers for labor and sex. We are surprised he was able to create a cult without charisma, good looks, or basic intelligence. It’s confusing. We should be proud of him for defying the odds nature had stacked against him in order to pursue his dreams. How inspiring. If only his dreams weren’t comprised of sexual predation and the subjugation of women. 

Before the show began to film Jeff Lowe had a criminal history, and there is suspicion that he set up Joe to hire a hitman to kill Carole Baskin. He treats his zoo employees terribly and is sexist towards his wife. His treatment of tigers is awful, the fact that he smuggled cubs in suitcases in casinos is gross. We hope that justice is served in Jeff’s upcoming trial. Jeff also sucks because there is honestly nothing funny to say about him. He’s both evil and boring. 

Joe Exotic is a terrible person, and not just because he participates in the modernized 21st-century country music genre. We will concede regarding the mullet. We give him props for his daring personal grooming choices. 

He rightfully is in prison. He fed his workers expired meat, and the living conditions in the zoo were awful. He also treated the tigers horribly, which includes shooting healthy tigers to make room in his cages. His romantic relationships are sickening. He manipulated two straight meth addicts to enter into a polygamous marriage with him. Not that Nicki is a meth addict, but she did find it refreshing and relatable to see a representation of people who are also toothless. 

Joe was definitely a contributing factor to Travis shooting himself, and the fact that he did not let Dial get counseling after witnessing Travis’s death is awful. At Travis’s funeral, Joe talked about Travis’s genitalia (golden nuggets) and promoted his own country music. He treated his mother-in-law terribly and invited her to his wedding to his new partner two months later. I am terrified.

 Joe created a toxic working and living environment that took a mental toll on all of his employees. Not to mention that during the entire documentary, he misgenders Saff, a transgender male, by referring to him as “she.” Finally, the videos he made about shooting Carole Baskin were extremely disturbing as well as the part he played in the murder for hire plot. So, no Joe should not be freed from prison. 

A few honorable mentions: James Garretson and Alan Glover. 

Carole Baskin is no angel. We hate her. However, could it be the fact that you have internalized misogyny that makes you hate her more than these men? Conspiracy theory: is Tiger King really just a metaphor for the 2016 election? 

Anyway, we highly recommend that you watch Tiger King.