Carole Baskin isn’t a cool cat or kitten after seeing Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video.
On its way to dominating streaming platforms, “WAP” has received criticism for everything from its sexually explicit imagery and lyrics to its Kylie Jenner cameo, but Baskin’s claws are out over something entirely different: the video’s use of big cats.
“WAP” features several scenes of tigers and other big cats walking around in the background as Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion perform.
“My guess is that most people won’t even see the photoshopped cats in the scenes because the rest of it is so sexually explicit,” the CEO of Big Cat Rescue and star of Netflix’s “Tiger King” told Entertainment Weekly in a statement, adding that she was at least happy the animals appear to have been added in post-production.
That’s as far as the compliments went.
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. 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, probably even one of the ones shown in “Tiger King, Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” who make 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.
According to Baskin, having the images of big cats “glamorizes” the idea of owning them and entices the artists’ followers to imitate it. She also called out “pay to play” sessions offered at zoos and animal parks run by other big cat handlers such as Joe Exotic, Doc Antle, Mark McCarthy and Mario Tabraue, where guests can book an encounter with a young cat, saying the animal becomes a “liability instead of an asset” when it gets too old.
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. There have been some accounts of tigers just being turned loose on communities when they no longer served as ego props. No matter how you cut it, it’s always abusive to the cat and dangerous to the public.
Not being privy to behind-the-scenes specifics, Baskin makes significant assumptions in her statement. Reps for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion didn’t immediately return a request for comment.