The Big Cat Rescue CEO tells Billboard that the rappers’ use of big cats as props could be detrimental to them, particularly since it might “glamorize” the idea of having them as pets.
“My guess is that most people won’t even see the Photoshopped cats in the scenes because the rest of it is so lurid,” Baskin, who became a household name after Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness docuseries aired, wrote in a statement to Billboard. She added, “I was happy to see that it does appear to all be Photoshopped. It didn’t look like the cats were really in the rooms with the singers. In fact, probably most of the rooms were Photoshopped in via green screen.”
“That being said, you have to pose a wildcat in front of a green screen to get that image and that doesn’t happen in the wild,” she pointed out about the scenes with a cheetah and a tiger in “WAP.”
Baskin continued: “It can’t happen in sanctuaries like ours where cats have plenty of room to avoid a green screen (or would shred it if offered access and could die from ingesting it). That tells me they probably dealt with one of the big cat pimps, who makes a living from beating, shocking and starving cats to make them stand on cue in front of a green screen in a studio. That’s never good for the cat.”
“The worst part is that it glamorizes the idea of rich people having tigers as pets,” Baskin explained. “That makes every ignorant follower want to imitate by doing the same. After tigers are too old for pay to play sessions by people like Joe Exotic, Bhagavan Antle, Marc McCarthy, Mario Tabraue and others, they become a liability instead of an asset. While I think most are destroyed behind closed gates at that point, some end up being given away to people who want to have a tiger to show off. That never works out and the cats either die or end up dumped in sanctuaries or, worse yet, breeding mills. Either way, it’s always abusive to the cat.”
Billboard has reached out to a rep for Cardi B for comment.
Cardi has made her love of Tiger King known before, but pledged support for Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year federal prison sentence for the attempted murder of Baskin.