Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Carole Baskin's Missing Former Husband's Family Made Commercial For Her 'Dancing With The Stars' Premiere

As controversial "Tiger King" star Carole Baskin took to the "Dancing With The Stars" dance floor for the first time, a commercial that Don Lewis' family purchased about his disappearance aired.

By Gina Tron
True Crime Buzz: "Cheer" Star Arrested On Child Pornography Charge

The family of Carole Baskin's missing former husband purchased a commercial seeking information about his disappearance, which aired during Baskin’s first “Dancing with the Stars” appearance.

“Dancing with the Stars” viewers, who watched the "Tiger King” star dance in an animal-print dress and her signature flower crown to "Eye of the Tiger" on Monday, also watched the relatives of her former husband, Don Lewis, demand justice for him. In a commercial which ran during the show’s premiere, Lewis' family, their attorney John M. Phillips, and Lewis' former assistant Anne McQueen asked for tips about his vanishing.

“We are a real family and to us, he was Daddy," Lewis’ daughter Gale Rathbone says in the commercial.

McQueen, who was featured in “Tiger King” states, “All we're asking is justice for Don."

The ad even goes so far as to mention Baskin by name.

"Do you know who did this, or if Carole Baskin was involved?" Phillips said in the commercial.

Don Lewis Carole Baskin Pd G

The commercial urges viewers to send tips to 646-450-6530 or 1-800-LITIGATE. A $100,000 reward is available for information which leads to his whereabouts.

Lewis vanished without a trace in August 1997, a mystery which was explored in the wildly popular Netflix docuseries “Tiger King.” Former big cat breeder Joe Exotic, whose downfall was the primary focus of "Tiger King," is currently serving 22 years in federal prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin. The two were embroiled in a rivalry for years; during their feud, Exotic repeatedly accused Baskin of killing Lewis. He even made a country music video featuring a Baskin lookalike feeding what is meant to be Lewis' remains to tigers.

Baskin has vehemently denied having anything to do with her former husband's disappearance.

"Don was not easy to live with and like most couples we had our moments," she wrote in a blog post following the docuseries' release. "But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance."

Baskin told Oxygen.com that she only found out about the commercial roughly 10 minutes before going out on the dance floor. 

"And you can see that it did not keep me from bringing the best performance of my two weeks of learning,” she said.

Baskin earned an 11/30 score, the lowest of the night on Monday, after dancing her paso doble with partner Pasha Pashkov. During the performance, Pashkov exited a cage and the pair used their hands to gesture like tigers.

Just last week, Baskin made a Facebook post in which she posted an excerpt from a diary entry she wrote in 1998 on the first anniversary of Lewis’ disappearance.

“Not a single clue has surfaced that can even answer the question ‘Is he dead or alive?’ I believe if he could be home, he would be here,” she wrote. “Were he homeless or in a facility, we would have found him by now.  He wouldn’t be sitting idly by and letting attorneys eat up everything he worked for, so he can’t be hiding. I miss him so much.”

Following the wild success of the docuseries, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister began asking the public for leads in Lewis' disappearance.

When Lewis vanished, he and Baskin were running Wildlife on Easy Street, a sanctuary for exotic cats in Tampa. Two days after he disappeared, his van was found at an airport about 40 miles from Tampa, PEOPLE reported in 1998.