The brand-new series, which chronicles the lives of 22-year-old Alex and his friends in an affluent island community just southwest of Sarasota, Florida, has been mired in controversy ever since a Facebook page boycotting the show began gaining followers in recent days. The backlash has been focused on footage of one of Kompothecras’ friends allegedly dragging a shark behind a boat at high speed, which has since gone viral.
On Monday evening, several members of the cast — which in addition to Alex consists of Chloe Trautman, 21, Madisson Hausburg, 23, Juliette Porter, 19, Brandon Gomes, 22, Kelsey Owens, 20, and Garrett Miller, 21 — took to social media to document their own premiere party at a private home. Alex’s 25-year-old cousin Pauly Apostolides, who also appears on the show, was also present.
The stars took to Snapchat and Instagram to share photos and videos of their evening as they prepared to watch the hourlong episode together.
“Hey everyone! It’s Chloe and Kelsey,” said Trautman and Owens in one Instagram story video. “We’re on our way to watch the premiere! Hope you guys enjoy watching the episode tonight.”
Sitting down just minutes before the episode aired, an emotional Trautman wiped away tears.
“Our lives are about to change,” gushed Owens. “I’m so excited. I hope you guys love it, we worked really hard.”
“THANK YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH FOR WATCHING!” Hausburg captioned a photo on Instagram later. “You all are AMAZING! Keep tuning in on Monday nights 10/9c on @mtv! This is gonna be a CRAZY summer #SiestaKey.”
After the alleged shark-dragging video went viral, Alex’s father Dr. Gary Kompothecras, a Sarasota chiropractor, confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that the premiere party scheduled for Monday night at CineBistro in Sarasota had been canceled because his son had received death threats, among other reasons. He declined to comment further.
PEOPLE has since confirmed that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified suspects in the disturbing shark-dragging video. The FWC is not releasing any names of suspects as the investigation is ongoing, however activists on social media have connected Alex to one of the individuals in the video.
According to Rolling Stone, Alex confirmed in a since-deleted post that the person in the video was a friend of his, but insisted that he did not condone that behavior.
“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.”
MTV has not commented on the controversy.