‘Siesta Key’ Star Alex Kompothecras Denies Involvement in Shark-Dragging Controversy
In the wake of the shark-dragging controversy, both MTV and the cast of their new show, Siesta Key, are breaking their silence.
This week, the Laguna Beach-inspired reality series about 20-somethings in the wealthy Florida Gulf premiered amid reports that one of the cast members was connected to a viral instance of animal abuse.
But now that cast member, Alex Kompothecras, is denying all involvement in the horrific crime.
The Sarasota, Florida premiere party was canceled on Monday, July 31 after Alex started receiving death threats over a clip spread of three men dragging a shark to its death.
After the video went viral, a protest called Boycott Siesta Key MTV started on Facebook over Alex’s connection to one of the men, Michael Wenzel. It now has over 10,000 fans and growing.
Though the faces of the other men in the footage can’t be seen, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is said to know the identities of the other men, though they won’t be released while an investigation is ongoing.
Though Alex isn’t part of the video, followers condemned him for his past posts with his pal Michael.
Still, he insists he was just as “horrified” by the video as the rest of us.
“I was, like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” the 22-year-old tells People. “I was absolutely horrified.”
Soon after, the death threats started pouring in on social media.
He shares, “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.”
Alex isn’t the only one feeling the heat — his co-stars are also getting threatening messages.
Madisson Hausberg reveals, “I’m getting death threats and I’ve never in my entire life been fishing. It’s scary.
“I understand why people are upset because I was absolutely horrified by the video. It was disgusting. It was awful. But I had absolutely nothing to do with it,” the 23-year-old states.
She concludes, “No one on the show had anything to do with it. I think there was some misinformation that this Michael guy is a part of the show but he’s not — and he never has been.”
He has been identified.... Michael Wenzel, a quick look on his FB page says all you need to know about this vile creature..... pic.twitter.com/4vVafG9RhTAndrew McAlpine (@Maritimegeek) July 25, 2017
Another castmate, Brandon Gomes, says he’s had people message him telling him to commit suicide.
“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,” he insists.
Alex goes on to say that as a 15-year fisherman, he doesn’t condone this behavior and he has only the utmost respect for the profession and the animals.
“It would be one thing if it was something I’d done and I’d gotten caught but this is something I am 100 percent against,” he adds.
As for Michael, he says his friend has reached out, but he’s not ready to speak with him.
He details, “Michael has been calling me but I haven’t responded to him because I’m personally offended. We’re friends but I’m so disappointed in him.
“Michael deserves what’s happening to him but I had nothing to do with this and my family and friends don’t deserve this hate.”
As for MTV, they are standing by their employee, saying they’ve conducted at-length interviews to clarify that Alex was not on the boat nor near it during the 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,” the spokesperson pleads.
Alex isn’t completely off the hook for his previous behavior, though. The TV newcomer owns up to pics posted in his younger years with a deer and alligator he killed while hunting — legally.
He also has since deleted a video from his Instagram account that showed a man (not himself) shooting a gun at a shark.
“There are images of me and I feel horrible,” he admits.
“I am embarrassed and it won’t happen 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.”
Siesta Key airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.