A show about the strange lives of people who keep big cats, Tiger King might be one of the most insane documentaries ever filmed. At the centre of the show: Joe ‘Exotic’ Maldonado-Passage, a former zoo owner currently serving time in prison for his part in an alleged plot to murder Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist who runs Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for abandoned big cats.
But as anyone who has watched Tiger King knows, the plot is far from straightforward. Carole Baskin’s second husband, Jon “Donald” Lewis is currently missing, having been last seen in August 1997. Maldonado-Passage has accused Baskin of playing a part in his disappearance. He even wrote a song with a music video, using a lookalike to play the part of Baskin.
But police currently have no clue as to the whereabouts of Baskin’s second husband and are capitalising on the incredible popularity of Tiger King to find new leads in the case of Jon Lewis’ disappearance.
Chad Chronister, the current Hillsborough County Sheriff, put out a request on Twitter asking for anyone with information to come forward.
“I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads,” he tweeted.
In the wake of the documentary’s release, Carole Baskin posted a statement on her website refuting all claims of her involvement in her second husband’s disappearance and took aim at the directors of the documentary.
“[The show] has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997,” reads Baskin’s statement. “The series presents this without any regard for the truth or in most cases even giving me an opportunity before publication to rebut the absurd claims. They did not care about truth. The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers.
Her current husband, Howard Baskin, recently posted a video in support of his wife, calling the directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin con-artists.
“I believe they are devoid of integrity, don’t care about the animals and clearly, clearly do not care about the truth,” he said. “As far as I can tell their goal was to make something as inflammatory and salacious as possible so that Netflix would pay them millions for it.”