Big Cat Rescue, a Hillsborough County animal sanctuary featured prominently in Netflix's Tiger King, is selling CEO Carole Baskin's cloth masks to raise funds.
"Hey all you cool cats and kittens!" says the group in a Saturday Facebook post. "Be one of the first to get your very own mask featuring Carole’s favorite tag line!"
The dual-layered masks come in black and leopard print, with proceeds benefiting the organization. They've been soliciting donations online since closing the park in March, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Baskin and her long-missing second husband Don Lewis founded the organization as "Wildlife on Easy Street, Inc.," after its Tampa street address, before reforming it into its current name and mission in 2003.
In 2011, Big Cat Rescue filed a lawsuit against later Tiger King star Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka "Joe Exotic," who ran GW Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. Exotic had fixated on big-cat sanctuary rival Baskin, alleging frequently that she killed Lewis and fed him to her tigers. Lewis disappeared in 1997, and was declared legally dead in 2002, eventually leaving his wealth to Baskin. Baskin would meet current husband Howard Baskin, also featured in the series, that same year, marrying him in 2004.
Baskin has vehemently denied Maldonado-Passage's murder accusations, and she often includes on social media posts how much the series misrepresented her and the organization.
Still, Don Lewis' disappearance remains an active cold case, with the Hillsborough sheriff saying in March he was receiving "6 tips a day" as a result of the hit series.In 2013, Baskin prevailed in the trademark lawsuit, and Maldonado-Passage was ordered to pay Big Cat Rescue $1 million for using confusingly similar trademarked materials. Maldonado-Passage later hired a hitman for a failed scheme to kill Baskin, and was imprisoned on two counts of murder-for-hire, eight violations of the Lacey Act and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act.
You can order the masks from Baskins' online store, tread365.com/face-masks. They're priced at $11 dollars each, with shipping from $2.93 to $68.52 for one-day delivery.
This article first appeared at our sister publication Orlando Weekly.
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