“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” has proven to be the kind of TV show that gets viewers worked up, polarized and taking sides, declaring themselves loyalists for Team Joe Exotic or ardently pledging support for Team Carole Baskin.
For those living under the proverbial rock: According to the Netflix docuseries, animal activist Baskin aimed to stop Exotic (aka Joe Maldonado-Passage) from letting visitors pet baby lions and tigers at his roadside zoo. In retaliation, Exotic allegedly tried to have Baskin killed — and a court found him guilty of attempted murder plus a raft of other charges.
Following Sunday’s airing of a bonus episode on Netflix, the claws are out and fur is flying. Far from immune to tiger mania, celebrities can’t help but jump into the fray, and A-listers are weighing in and declaring allegiance to the mullet or the flower crown.
Here’s where stars land in the Joe versus Carole fracas.
“Am I the only one, besides Carole, that thinks Carole didn’t kill her husband and he just dipped to Costa Rica with his side piece?” tweeted model Lindsey Pelas. The buxom blonde, 28, even devoted a podcast in which she plays up her side of the debate.
After seeing the docuseries and brutal footage released by the Humane Society of the United States showing Joe Exotic abusing his big cat cubs, actress Diane Keaton, 74, jumped onto the Carole Baskin bandwagon. “Now is the time to end animal cruelty,” Keaton said in a statement. “Exotic animals kept for private use are not only a public health issue but also endanger the lives of first responders.”
Quinton Aaron, who played gentle-giant football star Michael Oher in “The Blind Side,” joked about the cats out-sizing him in a public service announcement when he visited Carole’s Big Cat Rescue eight years ago, praising the sanctuary for offering the animals a home. “Many of these cats have been abused and abandoned,” he said. “But now they have the best life possible in captivity thanks to Big Cat Rescue and its supporters.”
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, “SNL” regular Kate McKinnon is all Baskin all the time. She’s set to play the ultimate cat lady in a narrative version of the “Tiger King” story. Although the actress has yet to comment on her role, Baskin herself has not been shy. In a statement, she said, “Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and big cubs in the making of the series.”
After making waves by tweeting about starting a GoFundMe page for Joe Exotic, long-clawed Cardi B backed down with a follow-up tweet that insisted, “Omg I was just playing.” But she couldn’t stop herself from adding, “I do love [Exotic] tho and he deff needed better representation…”
Inspired by the sequins and mullet, Rob Lowe outfitted himself with distinctive facial hair and played Joe Exotic dress-up for his Instagram followers earlier this month. But Lowe took it a step further by working his pooch into the pic. Jared Leto also went all out dressing as Exotic in March, but instead chose a stuffed cat.
While he didn’t play dress-up, Orlando Bloom took the time to Photoshop his own head onto a photo of Exotic taming a big cat.
Post Malone was all smiles as he held one of Joe Exotic’s baby tigers in a 2018 Instagram post. However, the rapper has not weighed in on whether he’s still down with the mullet man.
Demi Burnett, who was eliminated by Colton Underwood on Season 23 of “The Bachelor,” is looking to share words with Exotic. “What prison is Joe Exotic in? I’m tryna write him a letter,” she tweeted.
For all of the notoriety that “Tiger King” has brought her, Carole Baskin is no fan of the docuseries. She’s called it “salacious and sensational” and insists that there is no way she murdered her husband — via meat grinder or otherwise. Partial to Joe Exotic, Stassi Schroeder of “Vanderpump Rules” believes none of it: “We’re all in agreement that we need to stay inside, wash hands, and that Carole killed her husband, right?”