The red-carpet event for the premiere of “Siesta Key” was canceled July 30 after nearly a week of outcry online over what critics called animal cruelty by friends of some cast members.

Those who purchased tickets online to the premiere event, previously scheduled for July 31, received an email from Beth Kompothecras, the event organizer, mother of a cast member and wife of 1-800-ASK-GARY founder Gary Kompothecras.

“Due to unanticipated events, we have decided to cancel the private screening of “Siesta Key,” the email stated. All ticket holders were promised a refund.

A protest planned for the premiere was subsequently canceled. 

When asked for comment, Gary Kompothecras said he didn’t want to speak about the reasons behind the cancellation.

“We’re under a media lockdown right now,” Kompothecras told the Observer shortly after the incident. “We’re going to wait until after the show airs. Let these people see everything, and then we’ll comment.”

Animal cruelty allegations

The event cancellation comes after days of commenters online decrying the show for cast members’ potential connections to young men seen in at least one controversial video.

A video surfaced a week before the premier of at least four young men dragging a shark behind a speeding boat. The shark was being beaten by the waves; it was unclear if it was alive or dead.

What ensued was a hunt for the men’s identities. As the Florida Wildlife Commission began an investigation, members of the public searched online for their own answers about the identities of the men, which led to more and more images and videos showcasing potential animal cruelty being posted publicly on personal social media accounts and in the comments of news stories.

Some of the images and videos included young men shooting fish with guns, and a young man holding what appeared to be a dead

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