Popularity of Tiger King causes authorities to reopen cold-case

Katherine Williams, staff writer

On March 20, 2020, Netflix took the world by storm with their new documentary series, Tiger King. The documentary focuses on the life of former zoo operator Joe Exotic and the craziness that surrounded him. 

Throughout the series, Exotic expresses his hate for Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist and the founder of Big Cat Rescue, and eventually plans to hire a hitman to kill her. Baskin was always against Exotic’s method of exploiting the tigers for-profit and encouraged people to not visit his zoo. This sparked a feud between them that ultimately ended with Joe Exotic in jail. 

During the 3rd episode, Exotic explained how everyone in the cat community believes Baskin killed her husband, Don Lewis, and fed him to the tigers. There is no evidence to prove it, but ever since the show aired, audiences are starting to believe that’s how it happened. “It would make sense though, she feeds him to the tigers, collects his money, and gets to keep her animals,” one of the show’s viewers, Briana Butler, stated. 

During the episode, Baskin describes how she met Don Lewis at a tough time, and how he became a significant figure in her life. Lewis was a millionaire and shared his love for animals with Baskin. Turns out, Lewis was cheating her and if they divorced, Baskin would receive none of his money. So when Lewis went missing on August 18, 1997, all the fingers pointed to Carole Baskin. 

After the show aired, audiences around the country started to speculate if she really did it and TikTokers created a new challenge that basically described Baskin killing her husband. It went to the point where celebrities were saying that she actually did it. “The remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’, saying that Carole killed her husband was kind of funny,” said Kaylah Estes after she saw the Carole Baskin challenge on TikTok. 

The show Tiger King not only opened up about the life of zoo operator Joe Exotic but reopened and created new suspicions on Carole Baskin. After all, as the popular TikTok song says, “can’t convince me that it didn’t happen!”