By Julia Merchant
During a phone interview with The Smoky Mountain News, Barker explained that he first became aware of the bears through his long-time friend, Florida Congressman Bill Young. Young stopped through Cherokee with his family on a trip from Florida to Washington, D.C., and visited the bear exhibits. The Youngs weren’t impressed, to say the least—Young’s wife was practically in tears when the family left.
What happened next is a bit hard to decipher. Hicks says that the supposed letter mentioned in PETA’s statement was never actually sent to him.