Carole Baskin, the owner and CEO of Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Florida, who has been in the news a lot recently because of the Netflix documentary about Joe Exotic A.K.A. the “Tiger King” has criticised Cardi B, an American rapper, because she used big cats in a video to promote her song (WAP video).
In response Cardi B slandered (defamed) Carole Baskin in saying “You killed your goddam husband”. It is a widely reported statement. I cannot say that Cardi B allegedly used those words because it is certain that she did use them, in which case it is an actionable deformation in my opinion. No doubt Carole Baskin will not take legal action against Cardi B for slander because it is just too problematic. However, that does not change the fact that Cardi B has accused Carole Baskin of murder or manslaughter (homicide in the US) without evidence. It is not a fact that Carole Baskin murdered her husband. It is a statement which has besmirched Carole Baskin’s character.
Perhaps the defamatory statement carried very little weight because it is well known that Carole Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis, disappeared in 1997 and that no one knows what happened. There have been allegations and speculations against Carole Baskin concerning his disappearance but that is as far as it goes. Don Lewis was declared dead under the law in 2002. His family have offered a $100,000 reward for information about his disappearance. They are suing Baskin in the hope that information will be revealed. Baskin inherited most of Lewis’s $6m estate on his death.
Cardi B’s careless and angry statement was provoked from her after the CEO of Big Cat Rescue told Entertainment Weekly that she believed that the music video promoting Cardi B’s song incorporating big cats used “big cat pimps”. I’ll assume that Carole Baskin is referring to people like Joe Exotic (who is now serving a life sentence in jail) and others who exploit big cats for financial gain at the expense of the cats’ welfare.
Carole Baskin says that “big cat pimps” make a living from “beating, shocking and starving cats to make them stand on queue in front of a green screen in a studio”. I totally agree with her and the response from Cardi B is unjustified and as mentioned defamatory.