Don Lewis’ daughters Gale, Lynda and Donna are suing Carole Baskin for defamation, claiming she was “complicit with jokes” made about her former husband’s death on Dancing With the Stars, “When judges brought up TikTok videos inspired by her storyline in Tiger King.”
Lewis, whose unexplained disappearance was featured in the Netflix docuseries, went missing on the morning of August 18, 1997, after leaving his home in Tampa, Florida. The investigation into his disappearance extended from Lewis’s Wildlife Sanctuary in Tampa to Costa Rica. In the docuseries, Joe Exotic alleged that Baskin killed Lewis, though she denied these claims.
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In their lawsuit, Lewis’ daughters claim that Baskin did nothing to condemn or correct the comments made about their father on DWTS. The family also believes she was complicit in comments made about Lewis when she appeared on Good Morning America earlier this month. During the interview, Baskin joked that she would “really kill it” on DWTS.
In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Lewis’ family’s attorney, Jon Phillips, states that Baskin had settled a libel and slander claim brought by Lewis’ former executive assistant, Anne McQueen, in 1998, paying $50,000. “These exact same false statements, and additional ones, are being made again in 2020. It is malicious. Making matters worse, Howard Baskin is making these same statements publicly, as is Big Cat Rescue. As such, they have been added as Defendants,” the statement claims.
The Lewis family recently aired a commercial during DWTS, offering a $100,000 reward for information about Don Lewis’ disappearance. “Since Tiger King, Carole has done daily diary entries and was going to use this show as a springboard to her message. So [Lewis’ family] wanted their message out there. They wanted, at least locally, to counter-message Carole Baskin’s, in their mind, lies and fraud,” Phillips said.
The attorney also condemned the DWTS producers and judges for making light of Lewis’ disappearance and suspected death. When Baskin was asked about the ad aired by the family, she said, “I have not seen the ad. I am not at all surprised. It’s just been a huge publicity stunt on their part so what more could they possibly do than that?”
Source: Entertainment Tonight
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