Baskin, 59, is being sued for not speaking up when “Dancing With the Stars” judges cracked some jokes about Don Lewis, who is long missing and presumed dead, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.
In the new lawsuit, Lewis family members accuse the Big Cat Rescue boss of being “complicit” when judges name-dropped a viral TikTok video showcasing the unproved conspiracy theory that Baskin killed Lewis — and fed him to their hungry tigers.
The new lawsuit reportedly goes on to claim that Baskin should have intervened when “DWTS” judge Bruno Tonioli joked that she “didn’t quite kill the paso doble, it was kind of sedated.”
The family also takes issue with Baskin quipping about how she was “ready to kill it next week” in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
Jon Phillips, the Lewis family’s attorney, told Entertainment Tonight Tuesday that Baskin has been down this legal road before: She reportedly settled a $50,000 defamation lawsuit brought by her missing husband’s former executive assistant, Anne McQueen, in 1998.
“These exact same false statements, and additional ones, are being made again in 2020,” Phillips said. “It is malicious. Making matters worse, Howard Baskin [Carole’s current husband] is making these same statements publicly, as is Big Cat Rescue. As such, they have been added as defendants.”
However, Baskin released a statement last Friday, saying it would be a “huge relief” if her missing former husband were to be found thanks to a commercial funded by the Lewis family, which aired during her “Dancing With the Stars” debut.
“I believe their actions are just a publicity stunt, but if it helps us find Don, then that will be a huge relief,” she wrote in an email to CNN.
The big-cat advocate, famous for her “Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!” catchphrase, garnered international notoriety when Netflix’s hit docuseries premiered in March. The true-crime journey into the world of feline wildlife held in captivity and bred for profit told the story of Baskin’s competitor, Joe Exotic, a k a 57-year-old Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence in prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin.