2ND UPDATE: The sequel series to Tiger King has been on Netflix for almost a month now, and today Carole Baskin’s lawsuit against the streamer and others over the Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode directed franchise is over.
Having failed to get a desired injunction to block the November 17 launch of Tiger King 2 and facing a summery judgment motion, Big Cat Rescue founder Baskin and her husband Howard have dropped their contact lawsuit over the series.
In a one-page filing in federal court Wednesday, the Baskins gave “notice of their voluntary dismissal of this action.” Within hours of the dismissal from the plaintiffs, Tampa-based Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington officially tossed the messy matter “without prejudice” – which means it’s over …unlike Joe Exotic’s prison stint.
The Baskins also took to their website today to issue a statement on the dismissal It said, in part:
This lawsuit was never about money damages. With the injunction declined Season 2 was aired. It received generally poor reviews and dropped out of the Netflix top 10 rapidly.
We feel we were denied the only meaningful remedy available to us and that pursuing money damages is not the best use of our time because it reduces the time we can spend on our mission of stopping the abuse. Our time should be spent getting the Big Cat Public Safety Act through Congress to stop the cub petting and the private ownership of big cats in backyards. Rather than suing those who produce salacious lies, our time should be spent working on meaningful productions like the award-winning documentary The Conservation Game which exposes the “celebrity conservationists” who bring cubs onto TV talk shows and on our new two-episode series Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight streaming now on discovery+ which authentically shows our work going after these dangerous big cat exploiters. Both of these productions have received very strong positive reviews in contrast to Tiger King Season 2.
1ST UPDATE, NOV 1, 11:55 PM: Netflix won’t have to worry about Carole Baskin and her just filed contract lawsuit pulling the plug on the November 17 launch of Tiger King 2, at least not for now.
Mere hours after Baskin and her husband sued the streamer and producers Royal Goode Productions over what they are calling “unauthorized” use of footage of the Big Cat Rescue CEO in the upcoming sequel series, a federal judge in Florida tonight has denied the couple their request for a temporary restraining order.
“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,” said Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington in an short-ish order late Monday. “Importantly, 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 Tampa-based judge added.
“The Court takes no position on whether the Baskins will be able to establish entitlement to a preliminary injunction.”
What Judge does take a position on is not pulling the plug on the jury seeking complaint from Carole Baskin and Howard Baskin. “To the extent it seeks a preliminary injunction, the Motion is referred to the Honorable Thomas G. Wilson, United States Magistrate Judge …for an evidentiary hearing and the issuance of a Report and Recommendation.”
So, while the five-episode Tiger King 2 from directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode will almost certainly launch in just over two weeks, the Baskins’ lawsuit is just beginning.
PREVIOUSLY, 3: 16 PM: If you had any doubt whether there was going to be drama galore out of Tiger King 2, Big Cat Rescue boss Carole Baskin has taken a legal bite out of Netflix more than two weeks before the sequel series’ debut.
In a curt complaint filed in federal court in Florida on Monday, Baskin and her husband are aiming to shut down the streamer and series directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode’s Royal Good Productions from launching the five-episode Tiger King 2 as-is on November 17. Essentially, the animal rights advocacy couple says Netflix and the filmmakers simply have no right to use any footage left over from 2020’s hugely successful and Emmy-nominated Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness under the deal they inked in back in 2016 and again in 2018. Period.
“Defendants’ unauthorized use of the film footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue secured by Royal Goode Productions under the Appearance Releases will cause the Baskins irreparable injury for which the Baskins have no adequate remedy at law,” says the suit filed today by Tampa firm Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns LLP (read it here). It seeks an injunction, costs and more.
There was already friction between the streamer and directors and the couple over the Baskins’ contention reiterated today that “Tiger King 1 was particularly harsh and unfair in its depiction of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue” and “the over-arching implication” that Baskin was involved in the disappearance of her first husband in 1997.
Now, it is a matter of the small print.
The jury-seeking complaint filed Monday states “understanding that the Appearance Releases limited Royal Goode Productions’ use of the footage of the Baskins and Big Cat Rescue to the single, initial documentary motion picture, the Baskins believed that any sequel – though odious – would not include any of their footage.”
And let’s be clear, once the subject of an attempted murder move by the now imprisoned Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin is all over the Tiger King 2 trailer that dropped last week.
Or, as Howard Baskin put it in a statement to Deadline this afternoon:
While we cannot stop Netflix and Royal Goode Productions from producing low-brow, salacious and sensational programing, we do believe that we have the right to control footage filmed of us under false pretenses. We like to believe that most Americans will agree that we should be entitled to protect our reputations in this manner and hold entertainment giants to their word.
Netflix had no comment on this latest legal dust-up, a spokesperson told Deadline. As the days count down to the Tiger King 2 launch, the streamer will have to reply in court sooner or later.