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The miniseries is based on Wondery's podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King hosted by Robert Moor, who spent four years interviewing Joe Exotic and Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue in Florida. In addition to starring as Baskin, the Saturday Night Live star is also an executive producer on the miniseries, which is not associated with Netflix's popular true crime documentary.
"Kate McKinnon is a wonderful actress. Big Cat Rescue implores Kate McKinnon to not use real big cats and cubs in the making of her series," Baskin said in a statement provided to EW. "The Wondery podcast, which is the basis for her series, explores the rampant breeding, abuse and exploitation of big cats by breeder and exhibitor Joe Exotic. It would be cruel to use real big cats in a television series about cruelty to big cats."
Netflix; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
In the open message McKinnon, Baskin suggests the miniseries use a bit of Hollywood magic just like Harrison Ford's CGI dog in The Call of the Wild or the Razzy-winning cats of Cats. "We urge McKinnon to utilize computer-generated imagery (CGI) of cats in the show rather than forcing real big cats to suffer just to entertain the audience."
"We hope McKinnon has a passion for animals and that her series will focus on the horrible lives captive big cats lead when exploited by breeders like Joe Exotic," the statement continues. "We further hope she urges the public to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would end the cub petting abuse in America."
Baskin has previously slammed the Netflix documentary calling it "salacious and sensational" especially for its coverage of the disappearance of her husband Don Lewis in 1997.
PETA issued a statement of its own on Monday, asking McKinnon and producers to not use live animals in the scripted series.
EW has reached out to reps for McKinnon and the miniseries.