Stopping by PEOPLE Now on Thursday, Garrett Miller, Brandon Gomes, Juliette Porter and Kelsey Owens reveal how they’re getting past the fallout of the incident.
“It’s unfortunate that we got dragged into that situation, but we move forward,” says Gomes. “That’s nothing that’s on our mind right now.”
He adds, “We had nothing to do with that.”
Last summer, video of a shark being dragged behind a boat at high speed surfaced online and quickly went viral. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) subsequently conducted a four-month long investigation into the video and “other disturbing images on social media involving shocking disregard for Florida’s natural resources,” and charged three men with two third-degree felony counts of animal cruelty.
Before charges were filed, however, online critics appeared to tie Siesta Key star Alex Kompothecras to the video.
Though Kompothecras had posted photos with deer and alligators he seemingly killed while legally hunting and another picture of him and a friend with a fish being force-fed beer — and was seen in a similar outfit as a man who appeared in a second video that showed a hammerhead shark being shot with a gun off the side of a boat — Kompothecras was not charged by the FWC or by prosecutors.
He told PEOPLE back in August that he was “embarrassed” by his appearance in any photos where it appeared he was disrespecting wildlife. “I’ve made my share of bad decisions and I feel horrible, but all I can say is that I would not make those decisions again. I was being stupid, but I’ve grown from that. It’s an eye-opener for me because it’s made me think long and hard about things I’ve done, and I’ve learned from that. This has all been a shocking experience.”
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A spokesperson for MTV addressed the shark-dragging video in August, telling PEOPLE: “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.”
Amid the mounting controversy when the video first surface, the Siesta Key castmembers were inundated with negative comments and even death threats — eventually leading to a local premiere for the show being was canceled.
“I’ve been getting DMs from people telling me they hope all of us commit suicide,” Gomes told PEOPLE in August. “I’ve known Alex for almost half my life and it’s totally unfair that he’s being slammed for something he had nothing to do it.”
Opening up about how their approach to social media has changed in the wake of the experience, Porter tells PEOPLE Now, “We don’t want to offend anyone, we watch what we say. People get offended easily these days, so you have to watch what you say all the time.”