WFLA Web Staff - SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WFLA) – Cast members of the MTV reality show "Siesta Key" say they've been getting death threats after a horrific shark dragging video went viral. The video shows three men laughing while dragging a shark to its death.The Siesta Key reality show follows the lives of a group of young adults who live in the Sarasota area. The show got a lot of negative publicity after activists connected one of the show's stars to men in the infamous shark dragging video. The show's premiere party was cancelled because of the video.
Now cast members are speaking out, saying they've received threats because of the video.
Siesta Key star Alex Kompothecras, age 22, told People magazine that a friend sent him the video and he was disgusted by it.
"I was absolutely horrified," he told the magazine.
Kompothecras said shortly after he was sent the shark dragging video, he discovered he had been linked on social media to a friend who he told People was Michael Wenzel, who allegedly appears in the video with two other men.
Kompothecras said he began receiving hate messages and death threats on his social media accounts.
"I got some horrific comments," says Kompothecras. "My mom took it the hardest. She sobbed for three days in a row because she was scared for me. I couldn't even go outside to walk my dog. It's been hectic and scary," he told People.
Another cast member told the magazine that he also received death threats (read more here).
Kompothecras said that he fishes in Sarasota and would never do something like what is shown in the video.
But he did tell People that he removed a video from his Instagram account that "depicted a man shooting a gun at a shark in the water." He told the magazine he was embarrassed.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is still investigating the shark dragging video and other social media posts. Activists are outraged that arrests have not been made and created a petition calling for arrests and jail time for those involved. As of 11 a.m. on Thursday August 3, 173,504 people have signed the petition.
A new photo recently surfaced that shows one of the men in the video. The new photo depicts one of the ringleaders in the shark dragging video holding a spotted eagle ray on a dock. When it was posted on social media, the man wrote "#GetTheHarpoon" and "#PrimeMakoBait."
A Facebook page called Boycott Siesta Key on MTV has many posts denouncing the video and reality show.
A MTV spokesperson sent News Channel 8 the following statement regarding the matter:
We've spoken to Alex and many others at length, and it's clear that he was not on the boat nor played any role in this incredibly disturbing incident. We hope the serious threats unfairly being made against Alex and the other cast members – for something they had absolutely nothing to do with – stop."
Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to the FWC saying he wants to make sure the state's fishing regulations and statutes strictly prohibit "such inhumane acts."
Sarasota video blogger Louie Carey has gone viral with his videos that slam the show.
"The show is horrible, don't watch the show," he said.
"It just seemed like it was a lot of fakeness, and portraying the city in a really fake way as like a party city which its not," Carey added.
But he does not condone the death threats levied against the cast.
"Death threats are quite frankly very unproductive. Instead of saying ‘I'm gonna hurt you for what you did' let's find a solution so that you don't do it anymore and that other people don't do it anymore," Carey said.
He agrees that Kompothecras' pictures put him in a bad light, but he doesn't think that gives people a right to hurt him and his family.
"We all make mistakes I've never met a human who hasn't made mistakes that they wish they would've never done. Instead of sitting there and kind of stewing in people's mistakes, we should try to have compassion…because we're never going to be better people if we don't get the chance to and if people just keep putting us down for things we've done," said Carey.
"There's no point to threaten people, there's no point to bash people because they're trying to do things with their life," Carey added.Related:
- VIDEO: Disturbing video of shark being dragged behind boat prompts outrage, FWC investigation
- Warning: 2nd shocking shark abuse video being investigated by FWC
- Sarasota CPA receiving profanity-laced voicemails, death threats over shark dragging video
- Reality show ‘Siesta Key' premiere parties cancelled amid shark dragging controversy
- More than 63,000 signatures on petition calling for arrest of shark draggers
- FWC now reviewing additional animal abuse images, videos after shark dragging
- GRAPHIC PHOTO WARNING: Photo sent to Captain Quartiano showing dead shark after it was dragged
- Florida governor disturbed by video of shark dragging
- New photo emerges of possible abuse by man seen in shark dragging video
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