Carole Baskin may be making a name for herself on the dance floor with pro dancer Pasha Pashkov on Dancing With the Stars, but it was Netflix's hit documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness that thrust her into the spotlight. That series may have been all the rage among subscribers stuck in coronavirus-related lockdowns in the beginning of March, but for Baskin, the docuseries had a major, and not exactly positive, impact on her.
In a sneak peek for this week’s all-new episode of the beloved ABC dancing competition – Week 2, which will feature an elimination, was pushed from Monday to Tuesday due to football – provided to PEOPLE, Baskin broke down into tears while getting candid about the Netflix documentary. Discussing Tiger King with Pashkov, Baskin admits, "I keep it inside." Visibly emotional, she adds that "that is the absolute worst of this."
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Baskin, the owner of Florida's Big Cat Rescue and Joe Exotic's nemesis, had been among the main subjects featured in the Netflix series, which documented the murder-for-hire plot that landed Exotic a 22-year jail sentence and the controversy surrounding roadside zoos. First addressing the docuseries after it gained attention, Baskin claimed that she was approached by producers to participate in something akin to Blackfish, "a documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld," though that was not what ended up onscreen. In fact, a full episode of the series focused on the disappearance of Baskin's first husband, Don Lewis, a disappearance that some, including Joe Exotic, believe Baskin is responsible for. She said that the series was "salacious and sensational," particularly regarding claims around the disappearance of Lewis.
While Exotic has gained attention in his own right, Baskin's appearance on Tiger King has also drawn an influence of attention to her. Along with the viral Carole Baskin TikTok dance, it also brought renewed focus to Lewis' case, something that played out on a public stage during the DWTS Season 29 premiere. Lewis' family, in an effort to find answers, aired a 30-second ad during the premiere episode. In the ad, the family’s attorney, John Phillips, said, "Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997. His family deserves answers. They deserve justice," and asked, "Do you know who did this or if Carole Baskin was involved?"
Baskin, however, has brushed the ad off and instead expressed hope that it will finally lead to answers. Speaking just after the ad aired, she said it would be a "side benefit" of her DWTS appearance if Lewis' disappearance was solved.
An all-new episode of Dancing with the Stars airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates.