Thankfully, several TV shows have been able to go back into production so that we can enjoy at least some of our expected content this fall. One of the most anticipated shows is always Dancing with the Stars, and the new lineup of competitors was just announced with great (virtual) fanfare, giving fans a lot of exciting surprises for the upcoming season. Tiger King's Carole Baskin will be joining the fray this year, on a season which is already set to be full of big changes, and she's now given her blunt thoughts about fans of the Netflix docuseries after her DWTS casting.
There have truly been some major pop culture moments this year, despite the big break and many letdowns the entertainment industry has seen over the past several months. Among those major events was the release of Tiger King, which introduced many of us to the crazy true stories of Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin and the wild world of roadside zoos and the people who try to stop those zoos and the animal abuses they believe happen at many of them.
While Joe Exotic is the one who ended up in prison not long after the events shown in the series, Baskin got (and is still getting) a lot of negative attention herself. While participating in the cast reveal for Dancing with the Stars on Good Morning America earlier this week, Baskin was asked what this year has been like for her once people watched Tiger King, and the head cool cat had some very blunt things to say:
Tiger King really glamorized animal abusers and villainized me for trying to stop animal abuse. And so I felt really betrayed by that. But, what amazed me was how many people believed that false portrayal of me without doing anything to find out who I really am. So it’s been a nightmare since Tiger King aired.
Well, it's pretty hard to dispute Carole Baskin's main point here, which was that she felt "villainized" while Joe Exotic and some of the other roadside zoo owners shown in Tiger King were "glamorized," even though Exotic is the one went to prison, partially for trying to have Baskin killed, and is clearly not great at making good decisions (at the very least). While big-cat activist and sanctuary owner Baskin should have been an easy one to see as a hero in the series, there were, of course, some pretty big things standing in the way of most viewers forming such an opinion.
For one thing, as much as we all came to realize that a lot of the things that went on at Exotic's zoo, both with the animals and with the people who worked there (and in his personal life) were less than great, he's a much flashier and wilder real-life character than Baskin, so a lot of people were more easily drawn to him. There are also a lot of viewers who feel like Baskin's rescue efforts and the resulting sanctuary aren't much different than the roadside zoos she's been working to shutdown for so many years.
On top of all that, of course, are the many questions surrounding the disappearance and possible death of Carole Baskin's former husband, Don Lewis, which was a big plot of the docuseries, especially because Joe Exotic openly accused her of murdering Lewis in the show. And, as we know, there are still some shady details about his disappearance (which do sometimes involve Baskin) which continue to come to light.
Speaking of light, Baskin was asked if she's hoping that appearing on Dancing with the Stars will let people see her in a new light, after having so many suspicions about her because of Tiger King, and Baskin answered:
I really hope so. The biggest thing for me is that the longer my partner and I can stay in the running and in the competition, it will keep the cats forefront in the viewers’ eye, and to me that was where Tiger King missed the ball. It really should have been focused on the animals. So I’m hoping Dancing with the Stars will do that.
Whatever your thoughts on Carole Baskin, the animals do seem to be her main focus with all she does, so I fully expect to see a lot of fake tiger, leopard and other big cat prints during her performances on Dancing with the Stars, along with a stuffed animal or two. Baskin might not have made it into that Justin Bieber music video, but she's, arguably, scored herself a much bigger audience now.