Another day, another bit of media consumed. Last night, I closed out the popularly-acclaimed Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness featured on Netflix. Like others, my reaction was delight and surprise at the lives of the eccentric cast of characters within the private zookeeping subculture of the U.S.
Leading up to my viewing, I had seen several placed around the web making declarations stating that Carole Baskins, the founder of Big Cat Rescue and one of the show’s focuses, was somehow dodging justice for the murder of her husband. It was with that mindset that I watched the “documentary.”
After my watch, I can’t say I came to the same conclusion. The documentary seems to focus on anecdotes and barely passing connections to build this narrative that Carole could have possibly fed her husband to tigers in a bid to secure his immense wealth for herself. The key pieces of “evidence” like the will having unusual language or her husband’s sudden disappearance or her snub of the man’s biological children and ex-wife just don’t add up to murder to me.
In fact, all of the above becomes a lot more explainable if you picture Carole’s husband as being involved in the drug trade. I mean, if burying gold in your backyard isn’t a red flag, then the frequent trips to Costa Rica, exotic lifestyle, and having your future wife hold a gun on you to make her feel better all should paint a picture of a man who may be in business with dangerous people. Even more likely that Carole knew about this business and was simply unphased when his chickens had come to roost.
I’m not going to go to bat for Carole – it seemed like everyone in the documentary has some sort of borderline-illegal/definitely unethical situation happening in the background. It just seems like the producer has set up this illusory equivalence between this lady and the rest of the cast on false pretenses.
Now, if you’re really looking for a psycho lady to detest – watch Evil Genius, also on Netflix. It’s a shorter, less-dramatized, less-editorialized recounting of a bank robbery in Buffalo that went wrong. It’ll blow your hair back.