Here's Why Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic Aren't in 'Tiger King 2'

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Photo credit: NETFLIX
Photo credit: NETFLIX

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness could not have had better timing. The true crime juggernaut landed on Netflix shortly after the coronavirus washed ashore in the U.S. and the entire country was ordered to stay home. With little else to do, our nation turned its lonely eyes to Joe—no, not DiMaggio—Exotic.

Born Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, the self-proclaimed tiger king is the former owner of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. He is now serving a 22-year federal prison sentence for violating the Endangered Species Act and for attempting to murder his nemesis and series co-star Carole Baskin. Baskin is the owner of Big Cat Rescue and fancies herself an animal activist. Also, she might've fed her ex-husband to a den of tigers, which Exotic and maybe the Netflix producers like to suggest, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, 64 million people tuned in to watch Exotic and Baskin parade around their respective animal kingdoms and attempt to dethrone the other.

Along the way, viewers met an incredible array of rotating misfits including Travis Maldonado, Joe Exotic’s former partner who “accidentally” shot himself as part of a dare gone wrong in 2017, and John Finlay, his gap-toothed ex-husband who never knew where his shirt was and now claims his marriage to was a publicity stunt. (Finlay has since had his teeth fixed). And who could forget Jeff Lowe—the spray-tanned legend from Las Vegas who usurped control of the Oklahoma zoo when Exotic went to prison.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

With a huge hit on their hands and numerous memorable personalities at their disposal, Netflix naturally signed on for a sequel. Tiger King 2 debuted Wednesday, but notably absent were the original series’ two main stars: Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. According to multiple outlets, Baskin refused to participate in the sequel, citing issues with how she was portrayed in the first season. Instead she appeared on Dancing with the Stars and turned in a record-setting low score. Now she has her own show on Discovery+ called Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight. In the series, she and other activists hunt animal abusers, including Lowe, and try to bring them to their own version of jungle justice.

As for Joe Exotic, technically he does appear in the second season but only briefly and from behind a thick sheet of glass. That’s because Exotic is still in prison despite publicly asking former President Trump to pardon him on multiple occasions. His call to President Biden has also gone unanswered.

Things are faring better for Exotic in his legal battle. In July, a federal appeals court ruled that his charges were miscounted during the sentencing phase and required his prison term to be recalculated based on one charge of attempted murder, not two. If things go his way, Exotic might receive a shortened sentence.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

In the meantime, Exotic’s lawyer, John Phillips, seems to be gearing up for a potential mistrial. According to The New York Times, Marshall claims to have collected sworn affidavits from various Tiger King cast members such as former zoo manager John Reinke and even Jeff Lowe. In a September affidavit, Lowe suggests the murder-for-hire plot against Baskin was staged.

Exotic has managed to find multiple ways to stay busy behind bars. Aside from dealing with what he says is an aggressive form of prostate cancer, he’s also been writing a book. Tiger King: The Official Tell-All Memoir comes out next week.

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