PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — After a video went viral showing what appears to someone tampering with a turtle nest at a beach in Boynton Beach, the teen seen is saying it was all a joke and no animals were hurt
In an interview Friday morning, Lenny Miller said it was part of a prank for his social media channels, including YouTube, that was fake.
"I think it went above and beyond what I wanted," Miller said. "I wanted to make a funny video and I did make a funny video. I didn’t know it was going to reach the news but I’m glad it did. All publicity is good publicity whether bad or good. So it worked out exactly how I wanted it to."
Lt. Andrea Van Der Plaats with Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue shot video of the incident.
"I told them that that was illegal and not very cool. He proceeded to walk down the beach here, start to dig up a turtle nest, and he literally stomped on it," Van Der Plaats said. "It’s just really tragic. It’s disheartening to see someone do that to our local wildlife. It’s just heartless."
Miller said he grew up in South Florida and understands how the video came across during the heart of the nesting season.
"I’m a local," Miller said. "I grew up surfing in surf contests here. I love sea turtles. My mom always told me how protected they are so I understand the ramifications of doing it."
He said no crime was committed and the signs were fake.
"At the end of the day, I’m not hurting any sea turtles," Miller said. "I understand the ramifications of doing that. Besides the consequences, morally, hurting an animal is wrong so I would never do that.
If he had the opportunity to record a video again, Miller said he would not do it in Palm Beach County but maybe another area.
"I don’t regret filming the prank video at all," Miller said. "I don’t regret the reactions I got. I don’t regret the publicity I got.
"It’s for the views. People’s reactions and again when it comes to the mic’d up community, people’s reactions are what we get our content out of and that’s when we tell them it’s a prank."
Neither the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office nor Florida Wildlife Commission plans to charge Miller.
Any person who knowingly takes or harasses any marine turtle or turtle nest can face a penalty of $100,000 or a year in prison, according to the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973.