Ant Middleton calls Channel 4 'desperate' over sacking

1 month ago 125

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionMiddleton said the "woke patrol" had made it impossible for the show to be "true to the military ethos"

Ant Middleton has called Channel 4 "desperate" after he was axed from SAS: Who Dares Wins.

On Tuesday, the network said it would not work with Middleton again due to his "personal conduct".

It did not go into further detail, but there was speculation it was connected to controversial comments Middleton previously made on social media.

"Channel 4 and Minnow Films' statement is very reckless and desperate," Middleton told Good Morning Britain.

"That's the word - it's desperate. Especially backed by excuses like the BLM tweet. The BLM tweet I've done just under a year ago, [and] settled that.

"I didn't word it correctly and I acknowledged that, but we put that under the carpet. And a couple of months later, I filmed two more series of SAS: Who Dares Wins."

Last June, Middleton apologised after referring to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and English Defence League (EDL) protesters as "absolute scum". In March last year, Middleton also backtracked on comments he made about the coronavirus pandemic after he urged people to "carry on as normal".

'Woke patrol'

On Wednesday, The Daily Mirror reported that Middleton had made inappropriate comments to a female member of staff on the show.

In response, Middleton told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid he accepted he hadn't been the easiest person to work with and had "butted heads" with the production team - particularly because the show, in his opinion, had been watered down.

But he noted that confrontational language and behaviour was necessary to protect the authenticity of the military-based series.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionMiddleton said he had clashed with the health and safety department several times

"When I filmed the last episode it became a half-scripted sort of reality show, full control was taken from me, from health and safety to production," he said.

"And after that I said, 'Look, I'm not gonna film anymore, I'm done with SAS: Who Dares Wins'. I wanted to part in a healthy way and in a in a positive way.

"[Channel 4] knew I was going, and all of a sudden they dropped this bomb about Black Lives Matter, about been axed. Ultimately what they're doing is they're protecting their brand and they knew I was going, they got in there before me.

"Everything else is smoke and mirrors, all these excuses that are coming out, everything like inappropriate comments."

'If you get offended, then so be it'

He continued: "It's like, 'You're on SAS: Who Dares Wins. We say inappropriate things, we do inappropriate things. If you get offended by them, then then so be it.'

"The course is a hardcore course, it's gritty, you're going to see inappropriate things, you're going to witness inappropriate things, but it's never direct."

Middleton said he hadn't been told the details of the alleged complaint from a female staff member but said he assumed it was someone objecting to a "military banter"-style comment he might have made on set about a new recruit.

image captionAnt Middleton is a former United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) soldier, and now TV star

The 40-year-old also claimed he had found out from the media that he had been fired, not from Channel 4 directly.

His working relationship with the station and the show's production company started off as a good one, he stressed. However, he believes that over the years, "the PC patrol" have made it impossible for the show to continue to be "honest" and "true to the military ethos", as was the original intention.

"Over the years, the PC patrol have kicked in the woke patrol have kicked in to the point where we can't say anything, we can't be ourselves," he said.

"We can't even act on the ground without health and safety jumping in going, 'Oh! You can't put them in at shoulder level in the water, you've got to put them at waist height' and it's been so controlled and so managed and so inauthentic now that I've decided to be completely walk away".

On Tuesday, Channel 4 said in a statement: "Ant Middleton will not be taking part in future series of SAS: Who Dares Wins. Following a number of discussions Channel 4 and Minnow Films have had with him in relation to his personal conduct it has become clear that our views and values are not aligned and we will not be working with him again."

SAS: Who Dares Wins has run for seven series, since 2015, and former United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) soldier Middleton has been the chief instructor throughout.

The show sees civilians put through gruelling military training exercises to test their physical and mental strength.

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