Carole Baskin's time on Dancing With The Stars was not as long as she would have liked, but she did get her message about significant cat conservation out, so it was mission accomplished for her. In a new essay, Baskin thanked ABC and the show's producers for allowing her to "be heard" after she was portrayed in a negative light in Netflix's Tiger King documentary series. Baskin and her pro dance partner, Pasha Paskov, were eliminated on Monday, just three weeks into the new DWTS season.
Baskin said the moment she will look back on most fondly from her three weeks on the show was co-executive producer Deena Katz going to bat for her. "She took a big risk inviting the world's most-hated character onto the show, but she did it because she saw through the misogyny and saw me for who I am," Baskin wrote for Entertainment Tonight. "She offered me the show's platform as a way to set the record straight and put the spotlight on saving big cats from abuse and extinction."
Baskin said she could not imagine the "backlash" Katz and ABC might have faced from people "who believed the lies told about me in Tiger King." Baskin will "always owe" Katz "and everyone she influenced, into giving me a chance to be heard, and for their bravery in the face of so much abuse," she wrote. After she gets home, Baskin said she might auction off some of her DWTS souvenirs to raise money for Big Cat Rescue. "Due to the double impact of Tiger King's evil portrayal of me and what sanctuaries are all about and COVID-19, we had to stop the private tours of the sanctuary in March," Baskin revealed. "That was a third of our income, so every little bit helps."
Baskin rose to prominence thanks to Tiger King, which focused on Joe Exotic's rivalry with her. Exotic in now serving a 22-year prison sentence for animal abuse and murder for hire, since prosecutors say he hired a hitman to kill Baskin. An entire episode of the series focused on Exotic's conspiracy theory that Baskin killed her second husband, Don Lewis. Baskin has denied being involved in his disappearance. She has also spoken out against Tiger King, claiming she only participated because she thought it would be a serious expose on the big cat trade.
Once Baskin gets back to Florida, she plans to start work on an unscripted series with her husband, Howard Baskin. The project is being developed for ITV America's ThinkFactory Media and will "expose the nefarious individuals and organizations abusing exotic animals for profit," Baskin wrote. "The new project will further our 20-year war against those who benefit from the pain and suffering of big cats and other animals. We'll be spotlighting the cruel histories, lawsuits and animal rights violations associated with these organizations… in unprecedented and unexpected fashion."