Carole Baskin hasn’t let the hate get to her one year on from the release of Tiger King (Picture: Carole Baskin/Getty)
Carole Basking has opened up about the way her life changed thanks to the release of the hit Netflix show, Tiger King, last year.
The seven-part documentary, which explored the wild underworld of big cat breeding, catapulted the likes of Joe Exotic, Doc Antle, and Carole to worldwide fame in March 2020.
It was released just as the whole world went into lockdown, meaning the Big Cat Rescue owner suddenly found herself becoming one of the most divisive people on the planet.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk about the global attention she’s had to face, the 59-year-old explained: ‘In the past year, I’ve seen this mob mentality take over in every aspect, everywhere we’re seeing this really huge uprising of mob mentality.
‘I don’t know what’s causing that other than the fact that we’re all sharing in the same pandemic and we’re all afraid. I believe it’s causing people to do and say certain things, and to join into certain groups or cliques.’
Recalling how that has been evident in the way some Tiger King viewers treated her, she continued: ‘I feel that actually had a big part of why I got so much hate from people that don’t know anything about me.’
The Big Cat Rescue owner still gets her fair share of death threats (Picture: Netflix)
Viewers became fascinated with Carole thanks to the documentary’s focus on her ongoing feud with eccentric roadside zoo businessman Joe Exotic, who eventually ended up prison for attempting to hire a hitman to kill her.
However, Carole was soon vilified by viewers, due to the fact an episode was dedicated to the disappearance of her second husband Don Lewis – a situation that rival Joe insisted Carole was responsible for.
The Big Cat Rescue boss – which is one of the world’s largest accredited sanctuaries for exotic cats – told us: ‘If people had been paying attention, they would have noticed that the sheriff’s office said I’ve never even been a person of interest in the disappearance of my husband.
‘Yet not the takeaway that people came away with after watching the show. In Tiger King, all of those bad guys and people who were abusing animals kept saying “Everything that happens is Carol Baskin’s fault”.’
However, most people just want selfies when they see her in real life (Picture: carolbaskinofficial/Instagram)
She mused: ‘At the time it came out, people needed somebody to blame for Covid-19 and for all of their fears. I feel I just kind of served that role for them. It was easy to see me as a caricature, not as a real person. What caused an awful lot of that was just this perfect storm when it came to timing.’
Though Carole was able to see the funny side of some of the memes and TikTok trends that flooded the internet, she admitted that she had to try and focus on the fact that the people judging her do not know her true character.
The big cat lover feels people just wanted someone to blame and project their feelings onto when the pandemic began (Picture: Netflix)
The star defiantly stated: ‘The reason that none of this gets me down is my belief that is matter how horrible things may be, they’re always working out for the best. I think everything has a silver lining if we just look for it.’
If anything, Carole has now seen the tide turn when it comes to how she is greeted by the public.
While she still receives the occasional death threat, most people are just eager to get a picture for the ‘gram.
She recalled: ‘Being in that state of fight or flight kind of mode all the time is just a part of my life now. But the other day I was riding my bike home and a black SUV ran me off the road.
‘Suddenly, everybody opens the doors and jumps out of the car and starts running toward me. I’m thinking I’m being kidnapped but they just wanted selfies. That’s how it goes now.’
Tiger King is available to stream on Netflix.