Carole Baskin became a household name in 2020 after the release of Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King, which took a deep look into the disappearance of her ex-husband Jack “Don” Lewis. Baskin will now be competing on Dancing With the Stars, but some fans believe that Baskin might have had something to do with her ex-husband’s disappearance.
Tiger King told the story of Joe Exotic, an exotic animal zoo owner and black market animal dealer who was arrested in 2018 for animal abuse and a murder for hire scheme against Carole Baskin, and his downfall, but it ended up leading people to believe theories about Carole Baskin as well.
Don Lewis was last seen on August 18, 1997, vanishing without a trace.
“His van was found at a Pasco County airport with the keys on the floor. Deputies searched the wildlife sanctuary, then named Wildlife on Easy Street, and flew to Costa Rica looking for leads,” according to the Tampa Bay Tribune. “They never found him.”
Why Do People Think Carole Baskin Had Something to Do With Don Lewis’ Disappearance?
Reasons that people believe Baskin may have been involved in the disappearance start with the idea that Lewis wanted to move away from Florida and to Costa Rica in the months leading up to his disappearance.
He also attempted to file a restraining order and wanted to divorce Baskin, many outlets report. Investigators, however, have mixed feelings about what happened and have said that Lewis may have disappeared on his own.
Carole Baskin has since said that she believed Don Lewis was showing early signs of Alzheimer’s and outlined odd behavior leading up to his disappearance.
Celebrities Believe Baskin Could Have Something to Do With the Disappearance
After the Tiger King documentary came to light, people took to Twitter and other social media platforms to share their own theories about what happened to Don Lewis, and one popular theory was that Carole Baskin either allegedly killed her husband and fed him to the tigers or had someone else do it, which seemed to many to be what the documentary was suggesting.
Even celebrities like O.J. Simpson, who was tried for the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1995, has said he believes Baskin killed her husband.
“One thing I will say. There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that that lady’s husband is tiger sashimi right now,” Simpson said. “I’m just saying.”
Other celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Meghan McCain, Stassi Schroeder and Cardi B have also said they believe the theory about Baskin’s involvement.
“It is my opinion that I believe someone named don has maybe gone through a woman named carole’s meat grinder for sure,” Chrissy Teigen tweeted.
Baskin and Her Husband Deny Involvement, Say ‘Tiger King’ Producers Lied to Them
Howard Baskin, Carole Baskin’s husband, has spoken out about what he says was an “unfair” portrayal of their family and the Big Cat Rescue during Tiger King. In a video to the family’s supporters, Howard Baskin talked about the impact the docuseries had.
He said that the makers of Tiger King originally told the Baskins that they wanted to make a documentary that revealed the way big cats were treated in captivity, and he said that they were hoping it would lead to positive change in the industry. He says, however, that that is not what happened.
Howard Baskin added that they had turned down documentaries prior to the Netflix show because they did not believe most people would do anything “meaningful.”
“We also believed Eric [Goode] and Rebecca [Chaiklin] when they told us that, while they felt they had to mention the disappearance of Carole’s husband Don 23 years before as part of the context and background on her, that it would be done in a respectful and truthful way,” he said.
He added that he believed, in his opinion, that the makers of the documentary did not truly care about the animals they originally set out to help.
On the Big Cat Rescue website, they wrote an article titled Refuting Netflix Tiger King, laying out information the show left out about Joe Exotic’s trial and conviction. The article also painted Don Lewis as an abusive husband.
The sheriff’s department is seeking new information about the disappearance. Anyone with information about Don Lewis’ disappearance is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 813-247-8200.