The feverish interest with which the general public has seized upon the events chronicled in Netflix's docuseries Tiger King almost makes the whole affair feel like a reality TV show, with interpersonal feuds and murky crimes set against the backdrop of Tiger King Joe Exotic's larger-than-life persona. But the events documented in the series are all too real, and still ongoing. In the latest news, a judge has awarded ownership of Exotic's tiger park to his nemesis Carole Baskin.
The order ruled in favor of Baskin's Big Cat Rescue Corporation Monday in a lawsuit against the Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, the company that once was owned by Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage. With the ruling, Baskin gains control of approximately 16 acres of land in Garvin County, Oklahoma, that is home to an animal park with an array of big cats.
The current owner of the Zoo, who happens to be Exotic's mother, will have 120 days to vacate the premises and remove all zoo animals from the zoo. Apart from the land, Carole Baskin has also been awarded several cabins and vehicles.
The enmity between Exotic and Baskin had been going on for years, with the latter accusing the former of abusing the animals under his care, and Exotic claiming Baskin was running a smear campaign against him. Things came to a head when Joe Exotic was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin and is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for his crime.
The success of the Netflix docuseries has thrown the entire incident under global scrutiny, and the events leading up to Exotic's arrest are being seen in some circles in a new light. There has been more than one online campaign started by fans claiming Exotic is innocent and deserves to be released from jail.
Meanwhile, the circumstances surrounding the death of Baskin's husband have also been called into question, with the law enforcement hinting they might reopen the case in light of fresh evidence presented in the docuseries. So while Baskin will be celebrating her victory over Exotic's estate, this is far from the end of the real-life Exotic-Baskin saga.
Meanwhile, Hollywood has naturally jumped headfirst into the drama, with various studios snapping up the rights to presenting Exotic and Baskin's stories in multiple planned adaptations. There is the scripted series based on the life of the Tiger King, where Nicholas Cage will play Joe Exotic's fictionalized character.
There is also the series based on the wondery podcast Joe Exotic being developed at Universal Content Productions, with Kate McKinnon attached as producer and playing the role of Carole Baskin. Meanwhile, actress Tara Reid has hinted that she might also be front lining a Baskin biopic somewhere down the line.
As the real-life sage of Exotic attempting to get an early release from jail, and Baskin taking over the Tiger King zoo continues to evolve, film and television studios will no doubt be watching with bated breath, eager to adapt any new developments into additional movies, series, and documentaries further exploring Oklahoma's strange world of big cat animal rescue and shelter. This news was first reported on CNN.