“Tiger King” breakout star Carole Baskin has suffered a setback in her quest to claw her way out of Netflix’s sequel to the hit documentary series.
The chief executive of Big Cat Rescue filed a lawsuit in Tampa, Florida, against the streaming giant for using footage of her and her husband in “Tiger King 2.”
Hours later, a Florida judge denied the Baskins’ emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against “Tiger King” distributor Netflix and producer Royal Goode Productions, according to court documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
“While the Court understands the Baskins’ frustration, it does not appear that inclusion of Defendants’ footage of the Baskins will cause any immediate harm that cannot be compensated with monetary damages,” ruled Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington.
“Because the Court is not persuaded that the Baskins will suffer irreparable injury ... the Court merely finds that the Baskins are not entitled to the extraordinary remedy of a temporary restraining order, which would be entered before Defendants have had an adequate opportunity to respond.”
The court did not make a decision, however, regarding Netflix’s use of the Baskins’ likeness in its highly anticipated follow-up to the wild series, which was binge-watched by the masses last year during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a complaint obtained by the L.A. Times, the Baskins claim that Royal Goode Productions has violated its contract by mining footage of the big cat sanctuary owners for the second chapter.
The Baskins “believed that any sequel — though odious — would not include any of their footage,” the lawsuit reads.
“The [contract] limited Royal Goode Productions’ right to use film footage of the Baskins to ‘a documentary motion picture.’ Throughout the [contract] there is only reference to and mention of ‘the Picture.’”
The complaint also disapproves of Netflix’s trailer for the project, which includes fleeting imagery of Baskin and her partner while teasing a deeper investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Baskin’s first husband.
“No mention is made of granting Royal Goode Production sequel rights, rights to create derivative works from ‘the Picture’ or additional seasons or episodes,” the suit continues.
“By utilizing the film footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue secured by Royal Goode Productions under the Appearance Releases in ‘sizzle reels’ and promotional trailers for the sequel entitled ‘Tiger King 2,’ the Defendants are in breach of the terms of the [contract].”
While forming their case against “Tiger King 2,” the Baskins also reiterated their disdain for the original docuseries, which they deemed “particularly harsh and unfair in its depiction of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue.”
A significant portion of “Tiger King” focused on the mystery of Baskin’s first husband, who has been missing for decades, and presented Baskin as a key suspect in his disappearance.
“The ‘Tiger King 1’ series wrongly attempted to suggest that Big Cat Rescue abused its animals by keeping them in very small cages while not making clear that the animals actually reside in expansive enclosures,” the Baskins’ complaint states.
“Also, ‘Tiger King 1’ incorrectly suggests an equivalency between Big Cat Rescue and Joe Exotic’s roadside zoo, and more broadly that there is no difference between roadside zoos that exploit and mistreat animals and accredited sanctuaries that rescue and provide excellent lifetime care to the animals. Perhaps most pernicious is the overarching implication in ‘Tiger King 1’ that Carole Baskin was involved in the disappearance of her first husband in 1997.”
“Tiger King 2” is set to premiere in its entirety on Nov. 17 on Netflix. The streaming platform did not immediately respond to the L.A. Times’ request for comment.
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