A federal judge has granted Carole Baskin control of Joe Exotic’s Oklahoma zoo after ruling in her favour as part of a million dollar trademark dispute.
Baskin won the civil judgment against Exotic, the self-named “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet” for trademark and copyright infringements.
As a result, Baskin, the owner of the Big Cat Rescue facility in Hillsborough County, Florida, was granted control of the private zoo to her Big Cat Rescue Corp this week by US District Judge, Scott Palk.
Joe Exotic, the protagonist of Netflix’s biggest new docuseries, Tiger King, lost control of the Wynnewood premises after he failed to pay Baskin US$1 million (1,450,747.13 AUD) for using her company’s logo and images.
Until the judgement, Exotic’s zoo was owned by his ex-rival turned business associate, Jeff Lowe and Exotic’s mother, Shirley Schreibvogel, who was also sued by Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corp in 2016.
The decision noted that Lowe must remove the zoo animals from the Oklahoma property, renamed ‘Tiger King Park’, within 120 days. However, the decision remained unclear in regards to what will happen to the animals.
Lowe told TMZ earlier this week that he and his wife long-expected the 2016 property transfer to be undone, noting their bigger and better plans for the future.
“We are thankful that he dragged out his decision this long and allowed us time to complete the new Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma, behind the world’s largest casino,” he said.
Exotic remains in prison in Fort Worth, Texas, and has even pleaded for a presidential pardon in a handwritten letter posted to Twitter.
Baskin was outspoken in her campaign to shut Exotic’s business down because she believed that he abused animals in his care and engaged in irresponsible breeding practices.
Baskin has also been embroiled in scandals, in particular, that she murdered her husband Jack “Don” Lewis, and fed him to her rescued animals. She denied these false allegations during the docuseries.
Since Tiger King’s quarantine debut in March this year, the series has become a massive hit for Netflix, with the streaming-service revealing in April that 64 million households had watched the show.
The bizarre, yet non-fictional series has had a phenomenal cultural impact, with Baskin and Exotic’s characters elevated to iconic cult-status. So much so that B-list actor, Nicolas Cage, is set to portray Exotic in an upcoming TV miniseries.