As ‘Tiger King 2’ stirs more debate, Carole Baskin again denies killing her husband

A lion in a cage in the background and a woman wearing a pink shirt and jeans in the foreground
Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin in Netflix’s “Tiger King.”

Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin wants all you cool cats and kittens to know that the sophomore season of “Tiger King” is “primarily nothing more than a rehash of the first season with a few misleading additions.”

In a lengthy statement provided Thursday to the Los Angeles Times, Baskin and third husband Howard Baskin slammed the second chapter of the hit Netflix documentary series and tripled down on the assertion that she did not kill her missing second husband, Don Lewis.

“Season 2, as expected and indicated in the Trailer, continues to do everything they can to falsely convince the viewer that Carole was involved in Don Lewis disappearance,” the Baskins said.

“Consistent with their prior lack of ethics, the producers continued with the technique they used in Season 1 of having accusatory statements about Carole followed by images or video of her chosen to intentionally reinforce and magnify the accusations. The result, predictably, has been a new surge of social media hate directed at Carole the day of the release.”


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The couple’s scathing response comes weeks after the Baskins sued the streaming giant for using footage of them in Season 2 of “Tiger King.” A Florida judge promptly denied the big cat sanctuary owners’ emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against “Tiger King” distributor Netflix and producer Royal Goode Productions, but did not make an immediate decision regarding their unauthorized appearance in the latest installment.

During a news conference Thursday in Tampa, Fla., regarding Lewis’ disappearance, Cpl. Moises Garcia of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said investigators have made at least three attempts to interview Carole Baskin, who has repeatedly refused to speak with them.

Garcia identified Baskin as a “high-profile person of interest” in the case. Asked about Baskin’s silence, Garcia said, “Most missing persons’ ... family members, wives, spouses — they cooperate with law enforcement. They want to know what happened to their loved one, and they cooperate however possible.”

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Carole Baskin also took aim Thursday at her arch nemesis Joe Exotic, former owner of the roadside G.W. Zoo, who is in prison for organizing a murder-for-hire scheme against his rival as well as for animal abuse.


In the second season of “Tiger King,” Exotic claims his former business partners Jeff and Lauren Lowe, Allen Glover and James Garretson framed him for the attempted murder of Carole Baskin.

The “Tiger King” producers “continued to allow Joe Exotic to make false statements without contradiction leaving the implication they are true,” the Baskins continued Thursday.

“With all the talk about Joe Exotic being ‘set up’ and witnesses recanting, the producers again fail to point out that it was Joe’s own words from the recorded conversations that played a key role in his conviction.”

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Their statement also addresses a handful of other Season 2 moments, including an excerpt from Carole Baskin’s diary in which she recalls ordering Lewis to “get off the property” and threatening him with arrest after he allegedly said he would kill the cats.

She insists her writing was taken out of context and that she “was telling him not to come back until he had been examined for Alzheimer’s, which had been under discussion because of his deteriorating behavior.”

Netflix declined to comment when reached Thursday by The Times.

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The Baskins concluded their rebuke with a message to “everyone who still wants to believe that Carole killed Don” and a plug for her forthcoming Discovery+ series.

“Please explain to us why you think armchair detectives, or you are better informed than the Special Agent in Charge at the FBI in this Homeland Security Document which says ‘Don Lewis is currently alive and well in Costa Rica,’” they said.

“Meanwhile, please check out Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight streaming on discovery+ as it is much more exciting than Tiger King, and is the real work we do to end the abuse and extinction of big cats caused by the animal exploiters you know from Tiger King and many others.”