Carole Baskin Slated to Appear in Dancing With The Stars This YearSeptember 8, 2020
This week, the popular reality dance series Dancing With the Stars announced its fall lineup of new cast members. Carole Baskin ranks among the guest stars. Well known to audiences this year from her appearance in Tiger King (2020), she recently garnered national headlines due to her lawsuit against imprisoned animal park owner, Joe Exotic. Together with her husband, Howard Baskin, she operates Big Cat Rescue in Florida.
A Diverse Cast
Dancing With the Stars pairs guests with professional dance teachers. They team up to compete against one another performing a competitive series of formal ballroom dancing numbers. The reality television series will add a new hostess this year, Tyra Banks.
Carole Baskin joins a cast that includes actors, actresses, athletes, reality televison personalities, and the Rap star, Nelly. A. J. McLean of The Backstreet Boys will also compete for honors on the series this fall. Every week, the judges eliminate the lowest scoring couple from the competition.
High Profile Litigation
Earlier this summer, Carole Baskin garnered news media headlines due to her participation in a widely covered lawsuit. In June, she prevailed in another round of a longstanding legal dispute involving Joe Exotic, the former owner of a wild animal park in Oklahoma. Now serving a 22-year prison sentence, the flamboyant tiger keeper had maintained a very public vendetta against Carole Baskin and her husband for several years. The hit Netflix true crime documentary Tiger King (2020) documents their conflict in detail.
Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic (also known by his given name of Joe Maldonado-Passage) both claim to love and admire tigers and other big cats. Yet they hold very different philosophies about the best role for tigers in modern society. Joe Exotic owned and operated the G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma. Tiger King recounts how he conducted public appearances in which he frequently attacked Carole Baskin’s tiger rescue program in Florida. The Baskins sued him for trademark infringement in 2011 and obtained a million dollar award in their favor. They subsequently filed suit again in 2016, alleging Joe Exotic had fraudulently evaded payment by transferring his interest in his realty to a family member.
A Public Feud Turns Violent
The Tiger King documentary series details how the strain of the civil litigation placed intense financial and psychological pressures upon Joe Exotic. His dispute with Carole Baskin ultimately led him to prison. The federal charges against him included animal abuse counts and attempting to hire a hit man to kill her.
Joe Exotic ultimately lost control of his animal park. In June of this year, Carole Baskin scored a litigation victory when a judge awarded the former 16-acre tract in Garvin County (then owned by Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC) to her. The zoo’s current owner, Jeff Lowe, planned to appeal. He also indicated he would re-open a new “Tiger King” exotic animal park in another location.