‘Tiger King’: Carole Baskin Is Still Feeling the Effects of the Netflix Docuseries

Tiger King‘s Carole Baskin is still experiencing aftershock from the Netflix docuseries. Baskin spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about the hateful calls she still receives in the middle of the night and what she’s doing to convince viewers that Big Cat Rescue isn’t the enemy.

Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin | fupp/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Carole Baskin became a household name thanks to ‘Tiger King’ 

This year, Netflix introduced the world to Joseph Maldonado-Passage, AKA Joe Exotic, in the docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. The show centered around the feuds Maldonado-Passage had with various tiger owners, including Baskin. 

Tiger King highlighted Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue, but focused on her relationship with Don Lewis. In 1997, Lewis went missing under mysterious circumstances. Today, Maldonado-Passage and the Lewis family are convinced Baskin had something to do with Lewis’ disappearance.

In the docuseries, Baskin discussed how Lewis was in a questionable mental state when he went missing. After five years, Lewis was declared dead. To this day, his family is still looking for answers regarding his disappearance.

During the ‘DWTS’ premiere, the Lewis family aired a commercial asking ‘Who murdered Don Lewis?’ 

Today, there is no evidence that supports Maldonado-Passage’s claim saying Baskin killed Lewis and fed him to tigers. Despite the number of times Baskin has refuted her involvement in his disappearance, some people still believe she had something to do with it — including the Lewis family. 

During the premiere of Dancing With the Stars, Lewis’ daughters Gale, Lynda, and Donna paid to have a commercial aired asking for information regarding their missing father. His former assistant, Anne, also asked for justice in the ad. 

Baskin was aware of the ad, but chose to focus on her dance instead. She wants to use her notoriety to raise awareness about the Big Cat Act, but Lewis’ disappearance continues to be tied to her image.

Carole Baskin still gets calls in the middle of the night from viewers who ‘hate’ her

Lewis’ disappearance isn’t the only thing still following Baskin around from Tiger King. Many people who have seen the documentary still don’t understand the difference between Big Cat Rescue, private possession, and zoos. These are the people who call Baskin in the middle of the night to express their hatred.

RELATED: ‘Tiger King’: Why Carole Baskin Spoke Freely About Her Missing Husband, Don Lewis

“Most of the people who still call me and wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me how much they hate me after watching Tiger King hate me [because] we have tigers in cages,” Baskin explained. “[These callers also hate] that we’re against breeding when the tiger is so close to extinction.” 

According to Baskin, these callers misunderstand how breeding tigers won’t actually do anything to stop their extinction. “It’s actually causing their extinction,” she said. 

Always looking on the bright side, Baskin says receiving these hateful calls is a good thing. “The good news is that all of that heat and vitriol that I’ve received as a result of Tiger King is mostly from people who actually agree with our point of view,” she added. “They just don’t know it, but once we educate them about why it is we need to stop captive breeding in order to save [the tigers], then they become some of the biggest advocates.” 

Baskin is hopeful her appearance on Dancing With the Stars will allow her to educate viewers about Big Cat Rescue.