Yes, Carole Baskin Now Owns Joe Exotic’s Zoo

You remember Tiger King, right? The darkly gripping Netflix docuseries about warring private zoo owners who viciously bicker and feud over big cats? In one corner, there was Joe Exotic, the gay, polyamorous, gun-toting, failed presidential candidate who owned a private zoo in Oklahoma. In the other, there was Carole Baskin, the cat-obsessed owner (who is, reminder, allergic to cats) of Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit animal sanctuary in Florida. The two hated each other with a passion, spurred by Exotic’s numerous threats against Baskin’s life. (Exotic, real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, is now serving a 22-year prison sentence for a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin.)Alas, it seems now that the Tiger King crew should have stuck around a little bit longer—because this whole affair has since come to a truly Shakespearean end. It’s been reported that Baskin, Exotic’s sworn enemy, now owns Exotic’s private zoo.Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corporation was granted ownership of the zoo by a judge on Monday as part of her lawsuit against Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, the company Exotic once owned, according to CNN. As a result, the GWDC must vacate the premises in 120 days, in addition to removing “all zoo animals from the Zoo Land,” the lawsuit Seussically notes, per CNN. Baskin was also awarded cabins and vehicles on the premises.At the time of Exotic’s incarceration, his zoo was in the hands of his former friend turned enemy Jeff Lowe, another big cat enthusiast. Lowe made no attempt to stop Baskin from acquiring Exotic’s zoo.“We anticipated Carol Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so,” Walter Mosley, Lowe’s attorney, said Monday, per CNN. “All of Jeff’s focus is on opening the new Tiger King Park in Thackerville, (Oklahoma,) which should be opening in the next 120 days.”As was clearly painted in Tiger King, Baskin has been highly litigious, meeting Exotic’s numerous threats with lawsuit after lawsuit, and winning a $1 million trademark infringement lawsuit against him in 2011. After the release of the Netflix docuseries, Baskin and her husband Harold stepped away from the spotlight, disavowing the series and refusing to Zoom in for the show’s reunion special—in which every cast member present expressed their unique and particular hatred of Exotic.But former zoo employee Joshua Dial, one of the few redeemable souls on that docuseries, also noted that Exotic was fully aware of the Netflix program’s success and has been receiving numerous messages from fans. “He’s in the loop on this and he’s loving every minute of it,” Dial said. Unfortunately, we are going to need another special to find out exactly how Exotic feels about the transfer of his zoo into the hands of his truest nemesis.More Great Stories From Vanity Fair— The Week the Cameras Stopped: TV in the COVID-19 Era— Why Natalie Wood’s Daughter Is Confronting Robert Wagner About Wood’s Death— Inside Rock Hudson’s Real-Life Relationship With Agent Henry Wilson— How The Mandalorian Fought to Keep Baby Yoda From Being Too Cute— A First Look at Charlize Theron’s Immortal Warrior in The Old Guard— Back to the Future, Uncut Gems, and More New Titles on Netflix This Month— From the Archive: How Rock Hudson and Doris Day Helped Define the Romantic ComedyLooking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story.Beyond Tiger King: 8 True-Crime Documentaries That Sparked a Second Look From the LawCourtesy of Netflix.Tiger KingOne of the biggest mysteries in the 2020 Netflix series is the 1997 disappearance of Jack Donald “Don” Lewis, the former husband of Carole Baskin. Now that the show has taken off, authorities in Tampa have asked the public to send in leads around the case—and have since received up to six tips a day.
Joe Exotic, who is serving a 22-year prison sentence, filed a $94 million federal lawsuit, in Oklahoma City, claiming he was convicted based on false and perjured testimony.
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