The family of Don Lewis bought commercial time during the Dancing With The Stars Season 29 premiere, which will feature Tiger King star Carole Baskin as a contestant. Baskin was married to Lewis at the time of his disappearance in 1997, and Tiger King revived interest in the case. Baskin has denied involvement in his disappearance, but an entire episode of Tiger King was dedicated to Joe Exotic's theory that Baskin fed Lewis to their tigers.
Lewis' daughters Gayle, Lynda, and Donna, and his former assistant, Anne McQueen, will be joined by the Lewis family attorney, John Philipps, for a commercial asking for new tips on the case. The spot will air during the first commercial break Monday night, reports TMZ. Lewis' daughters and McQueen also believe Baskin had something to do with Lewis' disappearance.
Last month, Philips and Lewis' daughters held a press conference, announcing a $100,000 reward for any information about Lewis' disappearance. Lewis, a millionaire, was last seen in August 1997 when he was supposed to go on a trip to Costa Rica. He was never found and declared legally dead in 2002. Two years later, Baskin married Howard Baskin and remains the owner of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary she founded with Lewis. His family believes it is "grossly insensitive" to allow Baskin to take part in DWTS and they believe her involvement will hurt their search for answers.
Baskin told Good Morning America she hopes her participation in DWTS will re-introduce her to the American public after Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness glorified Joe Exotic. "Tiger King really glamorized animal abusers and villainized me for trying to stop animal abuse, and so I felt really betrayed by that," Baskin said. "But what amazed me was how many people believed that false portrayal of me without doing anything to find out who I really am. It's been a nightmare since Tiger King aired."
New DWTS host Tyra Banks said Banks' second chance with viewers is "very interesting" since viewers only know about her based on how the Tiger King filmmakers portrayed her. "I think it was a show that everybody couldn't keep their eyes off of, but at the same time, it's through the eyes of whoever was producing it. Right," Banks said in a recent SiriusXM interview.
Sources close to Baskin told TMZ she watched YouTube videos of dancers performing the Salsa, cha-cha, and the Venezuelan waltz to prepare for the show. She lost 20 pounds since finishing Tiger King and is following a vegan diet. Fans will get to see if all the hard work paid off Monday night when DWTS Season 29 begins at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.