MTV's new reality show Siesta Key is in hot water (pun intended) over one of the cast member's connection to the abuse of a shark. Disturbing footage was posted on Instagram last week by charter fishing captain Mark "Mark the Shark" Quartiano showing a shark being violently dragged, its body twisting and turning, while hooked to a boat.
Quartiano claimed that he did not shoot the footage himself, but instead stumbled across it in his feed and was disgusted. "For once I may have to agree with PETA," he wrote. "#sowrong #notcool."
The star of Siesta Key, Alex Kompothecras, was reportedly bragging that he knew the person responsible for the video. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has since identified suspects, but is not naming them.
Kompothecras has confirmed that he knew the person behind the video, but that doesn't mean he thinks what that person did was okay.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with the shark video," he wrote in a now-deleted social media post. "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."
The clip, which went viral, drew criticism and death threats towards cast members. TMZ reports that police in the Florida town where the reality show is shot were contacted by cast members about the threats.
A Facebook page titled "Boycott Siesta Key MTV" was also started and has garnered over 8,000 likes. In the "about" section, the page's creators write, "We are 3 women who want to be the voices for the animals." Following the controversy, the show's premiere party was canceled. Siesta Key follows a group of young, rich, and privileged cast members as they do rich and privileged things in Siesta Key, an upscale area in Sarasota, Florida.
Siesta Key airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.