Carole Baskin is taking her Dancing With the Stars elimination in stride. The Tiger King star was the second celebrity to go home in Season 29 after she and partner Pasha Paskov came in the bottom two for the third week in a row for their Lion King-themed samba on Disney Night, which earned them a 12/30 from the judges.
Following her elimination, she told Entertainment Tonight in a message to both her haters and supporters, "I love you both, because you've all kept it in the press." Baskin added, "With all the horrible things that have been said and all the wonderful things that have been said, people are talking about big cats and why they don't belong in cages, and nothing could make me happier than that."
Having earned the lowest score not only on Disney Night, but also on the premiere, as she danced a Paso Doble to "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, and last week as she performed a Viennese waltz set to Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat," Baskin said she doesn't feel "shocked at all" to be eliminated. "The people who stayed on the show can really, really dance, and that's what the show is all about," she explained. "I had no expectations about what this would be like, other than I didn't think anybody could teach me to dance in a million years."
The Big Cat Rescue founder relished the opportunity to speak out against people holding large cats in captivity or breeding them in captivity, showing Monday during her pre-dance package information about why the big cat trade is so damaging for the beautiful animals it endangers. "I'm thankful that Dancing With the Stars gave me the opportunity [for] getting the message out there about big cats," Baskin added. "So I've accomplished everything I came here to do. ...I think this has been an amazing opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and get my message out there."
Baskin's time on DWTS may have been brief, but dramatic. During the premiere night, the family of Baskin's former husband, Don Lewis, ran an advertisement offering a reward for information on his disappearance in 1997, of which Baskin has been accused of orchestrating. Since then, she has been sued for defamation by Lewis' daughters, Gale, Lynda, and Donna, as well as his former executive assistant, Anne McQueen, who accused her of being "complicit with jokes" about her former husband's death during the DWTS press cycle.