At the end of last week, Cardi B dropped her latest track, "WAP," a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion which is the sex-positive jam that this summer desperately needed, and also the reason you'll never be able to look at buckets, mops, cooked macaroni, or your own uvula without feeling either slightly aroused or slightly uncomfortable. The video has clocked more than 60 million views on YouTube, and has already upset at least one conservative politician. It has also prompted a strongly worded statement from Tiger King's Carole Baskin.
The song had been out for less than a full day when James Bradley, a Republican California Congressional candidate, slammed it as "what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure" before immediately clarifying that he heard the song "accidentally." (Put your own sure-jan.gif right here.)
And over the weekend, Baskin, the owner and CEO of Big Cat Rescue and one of several villains featured in the Tiger King docuseries on Netflix, shared her own concerns about the tigers and leopards that appear throughout the video. Despite the fact that the animals have clearly been CGI-ed into the finished jam, Baskin says that they still could've endured abuse during the filming process.
"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 told Billboard. "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."
Beyond that, Baskin said that the "worst part" is that the video further emphasizes the idea that tigers and other big cats are both acceptable and desirable pets. "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 and Bhagavan [Doc] Antle […] they become a liability instead of an asset," she continued. "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 […] Either way, it's always abusive to the cat."
In an email to VICE, Baskin added, “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 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 video] makes every follower of these artists, who doesn't know better, want to imitate by doing the same.”
Because 2020 is basically the worst game of Cards Against Humanity ever, this isn't the first catfight between Baskin and Cardi B. In the spring, when the rapper binged Tiger King like literally everyone else, she tweeted her support for Baskin's arch-nemesis, Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic, and called Baskin out for "thinking [she's] slick." Cardi B. also suggested that she might start a GoFundMe for Exotic—although the crowdfunding site shut that down before it started, as its platform cannot be used to raise cash for anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime. Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence for trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, and for assorted charges related to killing, abusing, and selling wild tigers. (Cardi B later said that she was "just playing" about the fundraiser.)
Last month, a woman named Claire posted a Cameo of a flower crown-wearing Baskin singing Cardi B's "Best Life" to a toy tiger. "Got Carole Baskin to sing a Cardi B song to my dad. 2020, what are you?" she tweeted.
Nobody can answer that question.