YouTubers Tricked Carole Baskin Into Giving Her First Post-“Tiger King” Interview

The chatter over Tiger King may have begun to quiet down, but it hasn’t faded away, not yet. And now one of its most compelling subjects, Carole Baskin, has given her first interview since the series aired—an interview that happened as the result of a prank.

Baskin has been notoriously private since the docuseries first premiered on Netflix, only going on record to say that she was disappointed it wound up being “salacious and sensational” rather than a documentary geared towards exposing the exploitation of big cats in zoos as she claims she was led to believe it would be.

Well now Carole Baskin has been misled once again.

Notorious YouTube pranksters Josh Pieters and Archie Manners corresponded with Baskin while pretending to be producers booking guests for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The two originally had trouble getting Baskin to commit to an interview — no surprise since she’s made a habit of declining them lately. But after going back and forth, they settled on an arrangement where they would only talk about cats, and steer clear of discussion about Tiger King.

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Turns out, this was the best option for the YouTubers’ ploy to work.

In order to trick Baskin into believing she was being interviewed by Fallon, they had to pull questions from his previous interviews with other guests so it sounded like he was speaking to Carole. And while Fallon hasn’t done a lot of talking about Tiger King, he has certainly referenced cats (and Cats, and Kat Dennings) a number of times.

Somehow, this whole thing actually worked.

Baskin joined their Zoom call and Pieters and Manners convinced her she could hear Fallon but couldn’t see him because he was being recorded in his home. They really sold the whole thing by having frazzled conversations with imaginary crew members while prepping her.

And Baskin got to talk about big cats, just like she always wanted.

The conversation was, obviously, stilted since the pranksters were using pre-recorded clips of Fallon to prompt her to talk, but Baskin got to talk about her Big Cat Rescue sanctuary, how they’re handling lockdown, and all the cats in her sanctuary.

She also handed over some exclusive photos and videos that had never been seen before, of both her sanctuary and her and her husband.

Now that the truth has been revealed, Baskin seems to be taking it all in stride.

“I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped,” she told CNN. “But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank. It gave us a very welcome good laugh. I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don’t feel was in any way mean spirited.”

With all the hate and suspicion Carole Baskin has received after Tiger King, it makes sense that she would be relieved with any sort of follow up that didn’t read as “mean spirited.” But it’s a good bet that she probably won’t be doing anymore taped-from-home interviews anytime soon.

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