WHEN I FINALLY finished watching “Tiger King”, I was blown away…And NOT in a good way! I couldn’t believe the deceptive tone of the film & how far the directors went to skew the view of the audience. As I started to dig into things a bit more, I was annoyed to see just how many people bought everything, hook, line & sinker! Even more concerning was that tons of those people were irrational enough to support Joe Exotic, putting up billboards, wearing shirts & marching with signs; They were ALL campaigning to “Free Joe Exotic!”
a billboard in Deridder, Louisiana (425 miles from Wynnewood)
BUT THIS ISN’T solely about the art of deceptive film making, it’s about the fallout from that deception & the damage that it has done to the REAL world of animal conservation, specifically the “Big Cat Rescue.”
Howard & Carole Baskin (source: BCR)
As previously mentioned, “Tiger King” made it’s debut on March 20th, 2020…Only a little over a week before the State of Florida issued a mandatory “Stay At Home” order. All non-essential businesses closed their doors to the public. Unfortunately, this would include the BCR. Although the closure was supposed to be temporary, once
“Tiger King” began to pick up steam, the closure had to be extended, indefinitely. With Joe Exotic supporters planning events to “Storm” the BCR, it just wouldn’t be safe to resume tours.
I couldn’t help myself…(source: FB)
THERE IS A phrase used in the legal world that helps to determine fault. It’s called the “But For Causation.” The phrase itself is simple: “BUT FOR X happening, Y & Z would not have occurred.” “But For Eric Goode making/releasing a dishonest film, the Big Cat Rescue would NOT have to close their doors out of fear for their safety & fear for the safety of the animals.” Corona Virus aside, had “Tiger King” been released as the honest, conservation documentary that Goode & Chaiklin had pitched to so many, the BCR wouldn’t have to remain closed. Let me take this one step further; “But For a global pandemic, “Tiger King” would have lost steam long ago.” Plainly put, it’s NOT really that great of a film Y’all! It ONLY had a captive audience because its audience was literally held captive….
I HAVE SAID more than enough, so I’m going to let Carole Baskin speak on the matter.
THE FOLLOWING IS the one & ONLY statement that Carole Baskin has made publicly since the release of “Tiger King.” According to Mrs. Baskin, this will be the ONLY public statement that she will be releasing for the time being. I want to make clear that I have NOT edited ANY of the text that is in this statement. The ONLY change that was made was to cut the statement into segments so that it’s easier to read, however, I will include the original at the end of this post as a reference. I will also include ALL of the live links, included throughout the statement, below under “Sources.”
FACT VS. FICTION
GIVEN THE NUMBER of bad edits & outright lies featured in “Tiger King”, one could classify it as a work of fiction instead of a documentary. So many, in fact, that it would take several more posts to cover them ALL! While I’m not going to go through every single thing that “Tiger King” got wrong, I do want to conclude this post with several of the most ridiculous.
FICTION: Joe Exotic states that BCR keeps their cats in cages smaller than G.W. Zoos.
FACT: BCR does NOT keep their cats in cages. They have a tall fence surrounding the perimeter of the sanctuary (for obvious reasons). The smallest enclosure is 1200 Sq feet & they often design them in such a way that they can be sectioned off OR several can be combined.
BCR As Seen In “Tiger King” (source: Netflix)
HERE’S THE THING; What appears to be a large lion in a small cage IS actually a lion in a cage…BUT that’s NOT his normal living space. If you look at the unedited shot, you can easily see the drop down panel behind the lion. This small section is called a “Lockout.”
A “LOCKOUT” IS used when a caregiver has to either provide direct care to an animal OR if they need to enter an enclosure for cleaning OR maintenance purposes. Reputable organizations ALWAYS put the safety of the staff & the animals first. They aren’t climbing into enclosures to pose for photos OR driving around with a full size tiger in the passenger seat. There’s a short video about big cat enclosures that was quite informative.
ONE FINAL POINT regarding the size of the big cat enclosures. There are times when a cat has to be placed in a temporary enclosure due to medical issues OR to be integrated into the permanent habitat. Though this temporary space may not be as big as the other enclosures, it still provides plenty of room & is often customized to meet the unique circumstances of each cat.
Aria On The Mend (source:BCR)
ARIA’S STORY: https://bigcatrescue.org/aria/?amp
FICTION: Joe Exotic, Antle & Lowe claim that BCR hides their income & doesn’t advertise cost of their tours.
FACT: BCR is a 501c3 non-profit organization. A major part of being registered as a 501c3 is being accountable
to a board of directors for your finances. This includes submitting an annual budget each year that the board has to approve. This prevents organizations from spending thousands of dollars on guns & drugs while they feed their starving animals spoiled lunch meat. Additionally, non-profits are regularly audited both internally & externally to insure funds are being used appropriately. BCR’s annual reports are available to the public at:
FICTION: Joe Exotic claims that BCR is a free for all, allowing mass amounts of people to enter & roam the property unattended. Eric Goode tries to lend credit to this claim by including several scenes in “Tiger King” showing tons of people lined up to enter the sanctuary.
FACT: Director/Producer Eric Goode chose to film these particular scenes during an event that BCR holds annually. The event is called the “Wildcat Walkabout” & guests purchasing tickets are able to choose which animal charity/project that they’d like to support.
REGARDING THE TOURS, reservations are required for ALL tours! BCR only offers guided tours, with NO more than 20 people per tour group. At one time, I believe that there was a special tour offered at 9am on Saturdays for groups that had children under 6.
AT THIS TIME, it is unknown if BCR will ever be able to offer public tours again. Though Covid-19 caused the Baskins to temporarily close the sanctuary, the deception seen in the “Tiger King” forced those doors to remain closed indefinitely. BCR puts the safety & well being of their animals & staff 1st. Jeff Lowe opened his doors as Corona Virus cases continued to climb. He allowed upwards of 22,000 people to personally interact with their animals, in spite of the recent discovery that big cats can become infected. Just days before the reopening of the “G.W. Zoo”, “The Bronx Zoo”, in New York, reported that 3 lions & 5 tigers tested positive for the virus…Another 2 OR 3 were starting to show symptoms. If a full grown,, adult tiger can be put out of commission by Covid-19, imagine what would happen to a 3 day old cub being held by thousands of people. It’s no different than exposing an infant to the flu. Both have not yet developed a strong enough immune system to help them fight off a virus; Both could die if exposed so young.
BRONX ZOO ARTICLE: https://www.google.com/amp/s/api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/2020/04/tiger-coronavirus-covid19-positive-test-bronx-zoo
THOSE WHO CHOOSE to dislike Carole Baskin & BCR should at least have enough intelligence & decency to do your research instead of making a decision based on lies & shady filmmaking.
AT THE END of the day, it’s NOT about liking Carole Baskin, it’s about the animals that BCR has spent years rescuing.
Statement (source: findingflorida.blog)
*FOR MORE INFO ON THE BIG CAT RESCUE OR TO SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT THE CATS THAT BCR CARES FOR VISIT: https://bigcatrescue.org
NY TIMES ARTICLE: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/science/tiger-king-joe-exotic-conservation.html
BIG CAT RESCUE: https://bigcatrescue.org/contact-bcr/?amp
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