As Carole Baskin made her Dancing With the Stars debut Monday, the family of the Tiger King star's first husband asked viewers for any information surrounding his 2002 disappearance in a primetime commercial that had fans completely shocked. Baskin, who was accused by rival cat owner Joe Exotic of murdering her husband Don Lewis and feeding him to her tigers, as chronicled in the Netflix docuseries, has repeatedly denied having anything to do with Lewis' death — but his family is less convinced.
In the commercial, Lewis' family revealed they had hired a lawyer and are offering $100,000 in exchange for information to help solve the case of Lewis' disappearance. Keep reading to see the public's wild reaction to the commercial airing.
Footage of the commercial quickly went viral on social media, as fans marveled at the family's choice to put Lewis' disappearance and their belief in Baskin's involvement on center stage during the DWTS premiere.prevnext
Many fans admitted they were not just shocked at the commercial, but that she had been cast on Dancing With the Stars to begin with.
First of all, I cannot BELEIVE that Carole Baskin is on DWTS.. but I’m speechless that they had a commercial offering a $100,000 reward if anyone knows if she killed her ex husband... wtf is going on💀💀😭😭— Olivia Rearick (@RearickOlivia) September 15, 2020
Carole Baskin's missing husbands family bought commercial time during dancing with the Stars lmfao— JT (@jthutson1) September 15, 2020
Others praised Lewis' family as "savage" for airing the commercial right in the middle of Baskin's network television debut.
Don Lewis’ family buying a commercial on #DancingWiththeStars where Carol Baskin is performing is the most savage thing ever and I am here for it— emma (@emmaleehags) September 15, 2020
Carole Baskin dancing to Eye of the Tiger on #DWTS is one thing but the airing of the commercial of her missing ex husband that his family bought is fucking savagery!— vanessa. (@vanessarose_m) September 15, 2020
Still others couldn't completely process how surreal the whole situation was from beginning to end.
Carole baskin commercial ! Lmao they wild— King Rob 👑 (@RobGod075) September 15, 2020
The family of Carole Baskin’s missing husband bought a commercial that aired during #DWTSPremiere (which Carole Baskin is on) to ask for information on whether or not Carole Baskin was involved???
SAVAGE.#FedHimToTigersTheySnackin— Rob Connett (@RobConnett1) September 15, 2020
One viewer even called the move "the kind of energy" they need to get through at least this year, seemingly praising the bold nature of buying the commercial.
Don Lewis’ daughters & former assistant buying prime time commercial air to plead for information about his disappearance immediately after Carol Baskin’s dance on #DWTS is the kind of energy I need to get through the rest of the year....and life honestly.— 👑 Mrs. Bozzie (@MrsBozzie) September 15, 2020
Carole Weighs In
"I am not at all the person I was portrayed in Tiger King," she told the outlet. "I am not the money-grubbing, gold-digging, murderous person that they portrayed. I am the type of person who will come after any person who is abusing animals. I am relentless. I just won't stop until I find some legal way to make it stop. From that perspective, I think they got me right. Me as a person, that was a total assassination of my character for nothing other than whatever money they could get for selling that to Netflix."prevnext
Baskin had a difficult first night with the DWTS judges as well, earning just an 11/30 dancing the paso doble to "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor with pro partner Pasha Pashkov — the lowest score of the night. While there was no audience vote or elimination during the premiere week, the scores earned by each pair will be combined with their scores from the judges in week two, as well as the results of America's vote. Those numbers will be tabulated to determine which team will be the first to leave the ballroom, making Pashkov and Baskin especially vulnerable heading into next week. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.prev