‘Dancing With the Stars’: Carole Baskin Speaks Out About the Don Lewis Commercial

Tiger King star Carole Baskin is competing on season 29 of Dancing With the StarsShowbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Baskin over the phone about her first performance on the dance competition and what she thought of the Don Lewis commercial that aired during the premiere. 

Carole Baskin 'Dancing With the Stars'
Carole Baskin | Frank Ockenfels /ABC via Getty Images

Carole Baskin danced the Paso Doble during the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 29 premiere

Baskin and her pro partner Pasha Kovalev danced the Spanish military-inspired dance to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” 

“I was so excited at the end of the first dance because we absolutely nailed it,” Baskin told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “It was the best of all of the practices and rehearsals that we had done. Both Pasha and I were really, really pleased with the results.”

Baskin was excited about joining the season 29 cast of DWTS to draw attention to the Big Cat Act, a federal legislation that would end owning big cats as pets and stop cub petting in the United States. She encourages DWTS fans to urge their senators to support the legislation.

Meanwhile, during the DWTS premiere, the family of Lewis — Baskin’s former husband — had a commercial aired asking for information regarding the disappearance of their father. 

‘Tiger King’ convinced many people that Carole Baskin killed her husband

As documented on Tiger King, Lewis disappeared in 1997. Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, accused Baskin of killing him and feeding him to tigers. 

There is still no evidence of Maldonado-Passage’s claim, and Baskin has refuted having any involvement in Lewis’ disappearance. 

Still, Lewis’ family believes otherwise. Lewis’ daughters Gale, Lynda, and Donna remain suspicious of Baskin, so they paid to have a commercial aired during the premiere of DWTS

The commercial featured Lewis’ family pleading for information regarding their father. His former assistant, Anne also appeared in the commercial asking for justice.

“Don Lewis disappeared in 1997,” lawyer John M. Phillips explained in the ad. “His family deserves answers. They deserve justice. Do you know who did this or if Carole Baskin was involved?” 

There is a $100,000 reward for anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Lewis. 

Carole Baskin saw the Don Lewis commercial right before her ‘DWTS’ performance 

Dancing With the Stars fans saw the Lewis ad, but so did Baskin. 

“Somebody made sure that I saw [the ad] just 10 minutes before I went out on to the stage,” Baskin told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Despite that, I did my very best performance to date.” 

The judges enjoyed Baskin’s performance but had some constructive criticism moving forward. 

“I love the connection you guys have when you dance,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said of her performance. “Carole Baskin just danced to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ everyone! We could work on dropping your shoulders and some technical issues.”

“Carole Baskin, ya danced that, with Pasha, you smashed it,” Derek Hough said, mimicking the viral TikTok dance. “I commend you for being out here and dancing. What you just did was well done. The shoulders were definitely hunched over like so. I know we are going for a tiger theme, but sometimes it got a little bit displaced.”

Baskin received a total score of 11 out of 30. Regardless of her low score and the Lewis commercial, she’s looking forward to dancing again next week.

“I’m not going to let the hateful things that those people are doing impact me in any way,” Baskin concluded. 

Dancing with the Stars Season 29 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.