Entertainment

A Commercial Seeking Info on Carole Baskin's Missing Husband Aired Before Her 'DWTS' Debut

Hey all you cool cats and kittens... can you tell us where Carole Baskin's missing husband is?

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Tiger queen Carole Baskin just can't escape the rumors about her mysteriously missing former husband. The accusations alleging that Baskin murdered millionaire Don Lewis and fed him to the big cats in her tiger sanctuary were brought to mass public attention by the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, which tracked the sordid feud between Baskin and her fellow tiger obsessive Joe Exotic, who repeatedly accused Baskin of the crime in his many vlogs and music videos. Ahead of her controversial debut on ABC's Dancing with the Stars on Monday night, the Lewis family and their attorney John Phillips bought a spot to air a commercial that asks for any information regarding Lewis' sudden disappearance.

In the video, three of Lewis' daughters, his former assistant, and their attorney Phillips introduce themselves before asking the public to call a tip line if they have heard or might know anything about Lewis' whereabouts, mentioning a $100,000 reward. "Do you know who did this, or if Carole Baskin was involved?" Phillips asks. The commercial aired just minutes before Baskin took the stage for her first dance, a tiger-themed paso doble with partner Pasha Pashkov. Baskin told TMZ that she was informed about the commercial 10 minutes before her segment, and said, "You can see that it did not keep me from bringing the best performance of my two weeks of learning."

Lewis and Baskin married in 1991 after divorcing their spouses at the time, and co-founded Wildlife on Easy Street, a sanctuary for exotic animals that Baskin renamed Big Cat Rescue after Lewis' disappearance in 1997. Shortly before he vanished, Lewis attempted to file a restraining order against Baskin, claiming she had tried to kill him, but it was rejected by the court. Rumors that Baskin had murdered him were a constant sticking point for Joe Exotic, who engaged in a pattern of targeted harassment against Baskin, lasting until he was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her in 2020. 

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.