Saturday, December 4, 2021

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Netflix Responds to Carole Baskin’s Lawsuit, Says She Has No Claim

Netflix has responded to the lawsuit filed against it by Carole Baskin, saying she has  “no claim” in suing the company over the use of footage of her in Tiger King 2.

Baskin and her husband Howard launched legal action against Netflix last week for breach of contract after they appeared in the show’s trailer.

Their lawsuit stated they only signed appearance release forms for the first season of the Netflix docu-series.

However, Netflix argues that they signed releases in 2019 that “explicitly permit” the footage use in later projects.

The streamer and Royal Goode Productions, who are also included in the Baskins’ legal claim, have called for the suit to be denied.

Their case filing says Carole Baskin became a “pop culture phenomenon” as a result of Tiger King, adding she had “no claim at all” and her “breach of contract claim is merely a red herring, lacking any merit”

Tiger King followed the rivalry between eccentric Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and animal rights activist Baskin.

The show became a cultural phenomenon in March 2020, fuelled partly by the pandemic-enforced lockdowns. Carole Baskin, the owner and CEO of the Big Cat Rescue in Florida, has said she was unhappy with how she had been presented and described the series as “a reality show dumpster fire”

The Baskins want Royal Goode Productions and Netflix to drop all footage of them from Tiger King 2 and are seeking to take the case in front of a jury.

The lawsuit states: “By utilising 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 Appearance Releases.”

The lawsuit also claims the first series gave a false impression of the work of Big Cat Rescue and unfairly accused the Baskins of animal abuse.

“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 legal papers state.

“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,” the papers say.

Carole Baskin has repeatedly denied that she had anything to do with the disappearance of her first husband Don Lewis.

Netflix and Royal Goode Productions have called for the case to be denied as it “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment” of the US Constitution protecting free speech.

An evidentiary hearing in the case is “futile” due to the “insurmountable constitutional hurdle”, the streamer said.

Last week, a Florida judge denied a motion for a temporary restraining order that would block footage of the Baskins in the second season of Tiger King.

The judge ruled 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”.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness told the story of Baskin’s nemesis, the flamboyant big cat enthusiast Joe Exotic, real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage.

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