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The disappearance of Carole Baskin’s first husband, Don Lewis, was one of the various topics that was covered in Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries. In the doc, Lewis’ family expressed skepticism regarding his whereabouts and accused Baskin of having a hand in his disappearance. Recently, the family debuted a commercial, which aired during Dancing with the Stars (on which Baskin is a contestant this season).
In the commercial, Lewis’ daughters and former assistant made an appeal to the public for information regarding his disappearance and Baskin’s suspected involvement. Now, the family has taken things a step further by suing Baskin.
Don Lewis’ family is suing Carole Basking for defamation. According to court documents (via ET), Lewis’ three daughters, Gale, Lynda and Donna, and former assistant Anne McQueen allege that Baskin was “complicit with jokes” regarding Lewis’ death while competing on Dancing with the Stars. The family believes Baskin did not make attempts to shoot down or condemn the comments made on the show.
The family’s lawsuit also claims that Carole Baskin was also complicit with jokes that were made about Lewis during a recent Good Morning America interview. The statement in question was a remark made by Baskin, who said she’d “really kill it next week” on DWTS. In a statement to the trade, Jon Phillips, the Lewis family’s attorney, explained that this defamation lawsuit was filed as Baskin settled a libel and slander claim with Anne McQueen which goes back to 1998. Baskin ultimately paid $50,000 in the settlement. Phillips also chastised Dancing with the Stars producers for allegedly making jokes as well.
Court documents also claim that Carole Baskin has recently published new information about her relationship with Don Lewis through videos that Baskin claims are from the past. Phillips alleges that Baskin used Tiger King as “a springboard” for exposure and that she’s currently using the videos to do the same. He says this is why Lewis’ family chose to take action:
The family never really got the chance to know and years have gone by. 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.
This is far from the first legal battle Carole Baskin has been involved with in recent years. Earlier this summer, a federal judge granted her full control of Joe Exotic’s G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park. Baskin had previously engaged in a trademark infringement lawsuit with Exotic. The court ultimately ruled in her favor and required Exotic to pay her a sum of $1 million, though he reportedly never paid the full amount.
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