Tiger King star Carole Baskin’s missing husband ‘alive and well’

Don Lewis went missing six years after the couple married in 1991 and was legally declared dead in 2002.

Tiger King star Carole Baskin’s missing husband ‘alive and well’ iStock

Tiger King star Carole Baskin has said she is “glad to hear” her former husband is alive and well in Costa Rica.

Don Lewis went missing six years after the couple married in 1991 and he was legally declared dead in 2002.

The first series of the Netflix reality programme shows his family questioning if Baskin was responsible for his death, but she has repeatedly denied she had any involvement in his disappearance.

Baskin rocketed to fame with the first series of the show, which follows Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting, polygamist who presides over an Oklahoma zoo.

He is now serving a 22-year sentence in prison for plotting the murder of Baskin, who is an animal rights activist and owner of Big Cat Rescue.

Baskin has criticised how she was portrayed in the first series of the show and launched legal action against Netflix and production company Royal Goode Productions over the use of footage of her in Tiger King 2, alleging breach of contract.

Netflix has said she has “no claim at all” and her “breach of contract claim is merely a red herring, lacking any merit”.

Discussing how she was represented in the series, she told ITV’s This Morning: “They said we just want your answer on this so that we can lay that to rest. That’s not what they did, they turned it into this huge mystery.

“But I tell you what, one of the really exciting things that came out of Tiger King 2 is that they produced a letter from Homeland Security and it says that a special agent in charge with the FBI at Homeland Security reached out to the sheriff’s detective George Fernandez, which means this had to have happened after 2002, because Homeland Security wasn’t even around until 2002.

“And they said that my husband, Don Lewis, is alive and well in Costa Rica.

“And yet all of this hay has been made about me having something to do with his disappearance, when Homeland Security has known where he is at least since back then.”

Addressing the comments made by Lewis’s family, she said: “I think maybe they should check with Homeland Security, who seems to know where he is.”

Asked if she believes Lewis is alive, she said: “I didn’t think that he was capable of supporting himself.

“He took about $1m down into Costa Rica and I had agreed to let him do that so he could prove to himself that he could make a living.

“And when we recovered what we could out of that years later, it was only about $80,000 because the investments he had made were so bad.

“So I don’t know how it is that Homeland Security says he’s alive and well in Costa Rica but I’m glad to hear it.”

Baskin said she was told the first series of Tiger King would be comparable to Blackfish, a documentary about the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity, but instead focused on “a made up feud”.

She added: “I’ve never even spoken to Joe Exotic. My husband’s the person who had handled the lawsuit when he tried to use our name in order to ruin our reputation. And so it’s just all based on lies.

“I have been in the same room with him in court. But I’ve never spoken to him.”

Baskin and her current husband Howard are demanding footage of them is removed from Tiger King 2, which was released on Netflix on Wednesday.

Netflix and Royal Goode Productions have called for the motion to be denied.

Baskin and her husband signed releases in 2019 that “explicitly permit” the use of the footage in later projects, according to a court filing.

The motion should be denied as it “strikes at the heart of the First Amendment” of the US Constitution protecting free speech, Netflix argued.

An evidentiary hearing in the case is “futile” due to the “insurmountable constitutional hurdle”, the streamer said.

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