Netflix has said Carole Baskin has “no claim at all” in a lawsuit over the use of footage of her in Tiger King 2 which streams next week.
Baskin and her husband Howard launched legal action against the streaming giant and production company Royal Goode Productions alleging breach of contract.
The wildlife conservation advocate argues she was unfairly portrayed in the first season of the hugely popular documentary series and objects to appearing in the latest instalment.
Baskin, 60, filed a lawsuit in Florida saying she only signed appearance release forms for the original episodes of Tiger King, which prominently explored the mysterious disappearance of her previous husband.
She and Howard, who run Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, are demanding the footage of them be removed from Tiger King 2.
Baskin vehemently denies any wrongdoing in the unsolved 1997 disappearance of her ex-husband Don Lewis.
Netflix and Royal Goode Productions have now responded and called for the motion to be denied.
Baskin and her husband signed releases in 2019 that “explicitly permit” the use of the footage in later projects, according to a court filing.
The motion should be denied as it “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment” of the US Constitution protecting free speech, Netflix argued.
An evidentiary hearing in the case is “futile” due to the “insurmountable constitutional hurdle”, the streamer said.
The filing, which said Baskin became a “pop culture phenomenon” as a result of Tiger King, added she had “no claim at all” and her “breach of contract claim is merely a red herring, lacking any merit”.
Netflix has already scored a legal victory in the case. A Florida judge denied a motion for a temporary restraining order that would block footage of Baskin and her husband in the second season of Tiger King.
The judge ruled that the Baskins “are not entitled to the extraordinary remedy of a temporary restraining order, which would be entered before Defendants have had an adequate opportunity to respond”, according to court documents.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, And Madness arrived on Netflix in March 2020 and exploded in popularity while much of the world was in lockdown.
It told the story of Baskin’s nemesis, the flamboyant big cat enthusiast Joe Exotic.
He was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of trying to hire two different men to kill Baskin.
An appeals court has since ruled Exotic should receive a shorter sentence.
The second season of Tiger King will stream on Netflix from 17 November.