Authorities Have Identified Suspects in Alleged Shark-Dragging Case Tied to MTV Reality Show Siesta Key
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified suspects in the disturbing video depicting alleged cruelty toward a shark
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified suspects in a disturbing video showing a group of individuals dragging a shark behind a boat at high speed, PEOPLE confirms.
The FWC is not releasing any names of suspects, however the MTV reality show Siesta Key has received backlash on social media after activists connected one of the show’s stars Alex Kompothecras to the incident.
A Facebook page called “Boycott Siesta Key MTV” was created and a protest was planned for the premiere party on Monday night. After death threats were allegedly directed at a cast member, the local premiere was canceled.
Kompothecras commented in a since-deleted post that the person in the shark video was a friend, but that he did not condone that behavior, reports Rolling Stone.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with the shark video,” he reportedly wrote. “Yes he’s a friend of mine, but no I don’t agree with what he did. Check your facts before you go posting on my page. Thanks.”
In a letter to FWC chairman Brian Yablonski obtained by PEOPLE, Florida Governor Rick Scott calls the act “hateful” and “inhumane.”
“This week, an incredibly disturbing video was reported by the media showing individuals senselessly dragging a shark behind their boat at high speed. The brutality and disrespect shown to this animal is sickening and I am sure that you share in my outrage over these individuals’ heinous actions,” writes Scott.
And in response, the FWC released a statement saying that the entire organization is “disgusted by the behavior shown in the video.”
It’s too early in the investigation for the FWC to speculate “what, if any, violations took place in the incident,” they say in a statement to PEOPLE.
“The lack of respect shown for our precious natural resources shown in this video is disheartening and disturbing,” adds the FWC. “And is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world.”