• As part of the US’ country-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC is recommending that people wear cloth face masks whenever they’re in public, in addition to practicing social distancing.
  • Carole Baskin, whose story figured prominently in the Netflix hit series Tiger King, has started selling cloth cat-themed face masks, with proceeds that go toward helping first responders as well as the rescue of big cats.
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Carole Baskin, the antagonist of “Tiger King” Joe Exotic in Netflix’s hit docu-series, is using her newfound spotlight to sell her own branded coronavirus face masks that also depict her quirky greeting to “all you cool cats and kittens.”

That’s according to the Tampa Bay Times, which reports that the CEO of Tampa-area nonprofit animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue is selling the masks on tread365.com to raise money that will be used in part to support first-responders during the coronavirus crisis. The money also “goes directly to support the big cats,” according to the sale page. And it’s money that’s sorely needed, since Baskin’s animal sanctuary has lamented at bigcatrescue.com that it’s losing around $160,000 a month in tour revenue as a result of being closed due to the pandemic.

The masks are being sold for $11, and according to the cat sanctuary, they can be shipped anywhere in the world:

The masks include a smiling cat design, and they come in black as well as leopard prints. According to the product listing, the masks are designed for maximum coverage over the mouth and face and they’re also reusable, easy to clean, machine-washable, and dual-layered with a polyester and fabric blend.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

“CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

Baskin, for her part, made her displeasure known with how the Tiger King series presented her soon after it debuted on Netflix, though the fame will certainly help her sell masks. One of the central storylines in the series was whether or not Baskin had something to do with her ex-husband Don Lewis’ disappearance. The star of the series, meanwhile, is a gun-toting Oklahoma zookeeper who’s serving a 22-year prison sentence for killing several tigers as well as trying to have Baskin killed.

“I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point,” Baskin told the Tampa Bay Times in her first interview after the series debuted. “And the point is, these cubs are being abused and exploited, and the public is enabling that.”


Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.