Ant Middleton has branded Channel 4’s handling of his departure from SAS: Who Dares Wins as ‘reckless and desperate’ as he dismisses claims he made inappropriate comments to female crew members.
The 40-year-old adventurer and military veteran, who was axed by Channel 4 on Monday due to his ‘personal conduct’, said he was preparing to walk away from the show because the ‘PC Patrol’ had taken over and it was no longer authentic.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Ant was forced to deny claims that he had made ‘inappropriate’ comments to female staff which were subsequently investigated by channel bosses.
He said anonymous complaints had been made about ‘indirect’ behaviour that was typical of the hosts’ military backgrounds and said ‘snowflakes’ do not belong on the set of SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The TV star said: ‘Channel 4’s statement and Minnow Film’s statement is very reckless and desperate.
‘It’s all smoke and mirrors. From the last episode of SAS: Who Dares Wins, when I filmed the last episode, it became a sort of half-scripted reality show.
Ant Middleton has branded Channel 4’s handling of his departure from SAS: Who Dares Wins as ‘reckless and desperate’ as he denies claims he was inappropriate to female crew members
During an interview on Good Morning Britain this morning, the 40-year-old said the TV series had become more of a reality show after the PC patrol stepped in and ruined its authenticity
‘Full control was taken from me – from health and safety to production, and after that show I said I’m not going to film any more. I’m done with Who Dares Wins.
‘I wanted to part in a healthy way and in a positive way and they knew that I was going.
‘And then all of a sudden, they drop this bomb about Black Lives Matter, about how I’ve been axed and ultimately what they’re doing is protecting their brand.
‘They knew I was going, they got there before me. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.’
Addressing the claims he had been inappropriate, he added: ‘You’re on SAS: Who Dares Wins. We say inappropriate things, we do inappropriate things that if you get offended by them then so be it.
‘When they say inappropriate comments, it wasn’t direct, it’s what someone has seen on the show.
‘There was a new protocol that came in with their health and safety that if they feel offended or they want to complain, then they can do anonymously, so it’s obviously something they’ve seen.
‘They’ve seen a bit of military banter, or military humour, they’ve seen us talk about a recruit or maybe a production member while we’re in the DS dorm or something like that.
‘It’s not direct. It’s something indirect that they’ve complained about that they’ve been offended by.’
He added: ‘If you’re sensitive, if you’re a snowflake, if you’re easily offended, you do not belong on the set of Who Dares Wins.
‘This isn’t dancing on ice, or Celebrity Big Brother. This is Who Dares Wins. You’re going to see things that are uncomfortable.
‘You’ve got a group of military Alpha males that are going to put people through a gruelling and authentic process and if you don’t like what you see then don’t come and work on the set. It’s not for the light-hearted.
‘Now it’s turned into this PC woke everyone in their safety bubble if you hear anything that offends you then make sure you complain – that’s the show gone.’
It was revealed this week that Ant had been dropped by Channel 4 due to his ‘personal conduct’, with the station claiming they will not work with him again. Ant is said to have learned of Channel 4’s decision to drop him on Monday.
On Tuesday, Ant also denied claims that he was dropped by Channel 4 bosses after making ‘inappropriate’ comments to female staff.
Ant, pictured with actor Rebel Wilson during the filming of his series Straight Talking, hit headlines last year when he described Black Lives Matter protestors as ‘scum’ on Twitter but said that had been sorted and he had filmed two series of the TV show since then
According to The Mirror, Channel 4 and Minnow Films investigated a number of complaints from female staff about comments from Ant that they deemed to be ‘inappropriate.’
The investigation led to a meeting between Ant and the network where they decided to cease working with him.
But this morning, Ant denied that was the case and said the first he had heard of any complaints was from the media.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘The first time I heard about it was last night from my management to say that there’s going to be an article about you tomorrow morning.
‘They said “we dug into it and it’s an anonymous complaint about inappropriate comments from you on set”.
‘It will be someone that was offended about something we said about a recruit.’
The former SBS soldier admitted he had been difficult to work with but said this was because he wanted to protect the authenticity of the process.
He added: ‘I have butted heads with a lot of people and that’s why I’ve walked away.
‘You can take that as inappropriate if you want. You can interpret that how you want.
‘It’s only because the course wasn’t what it was, wasn’t what I created, and due to my passion for the show and to keep the authenticity behind it, I like to take control and make sure it’s done correctly.
‘I will butt heads with people on set, off set, channels, whatever it may be to make sure I get the best work done to keep the authenticity of the show.
‘It needs to have a stamp on it now – from factual entertainment to a reality tv show.
‘The PC patrol and Woke patrol have taken over. It cannot stay authentic because it’s obviously offending people.’
Channel 4 have been contacted for comment but have previously said: ‘We can’t comment on anonymous allegations, however, we take issues of welfare very seriously. We clearly set out our expectations of behaviour in our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are satisfied appropriate action has been taken.’
Minnow Films added: ‘The welfare of those working on our productions is of paramount importance. We have robust procedures in place to allow members of staff to come forward and confidentially raise any concerns.’
‘Stay positive’: Ant took to social media and confirmed he would no longer be hosting the Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins after five years and said he was excited about the future
It comes after Ant vowed to ‘stay positive’ as he broke his silence following the announcement he had been dropped by Channel 4 due to his ‘personal conduct’.
As Channel 4 stated they would never work with him again, the adventurer took to social media on Monday to confirm the news.
He wrote: ‘Hi guys, I’ve got some news which is that after 5 incredible years I’ve decided it’s time to move on from SAS Who Dares Wins UK.
‘Big respect to my fellow DS – its been a journey I’ll never forget. Thanks to everyone that took part and made the show what it is. Really excited about the future and what’s coming this year. Stay positive.’
A spokesperson for Channel 4 had earlier told MailOnline: ‘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.’
Ant’s axing by Channel 4 comes after he sparked controversy by referring to Black Lives Matter protesters as ‘absolute scum’ last June.
Two series of the former soldier have already been filmed, which Ant says took place after the BLM controversy was dealt with, and they will be aired later this year, it has been reported
According to The Mirror, Ant has had further issues with the broadcaster over his views since then.
Ant is said to have learned of Channel 4’s decision to drop him on Monday.
Two series of SAS with the former soldier have already been filmed and will air this year but planned future series will not feature him.
MailOnline contacted representatives for Ant Middleton for comment at the time.
While Ant will not be returning to the UK’s SAS show, Australia’s Channel Seven has confirmed he will be returning to SAS Australia.
A spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Monday, that the former British Special Forces solider will return to the show as a chief instructor.
‘Ant Middleton and his fellow DS (Directing Staff), Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton, will all be returning for the second season of SAS Australia which is currently in pre-production,’ a representative said.
It’s believed casting for season two of the military-style show has already begun.
The TV presenter was removed from Soccer Aid last August over fears his involvement would offend ethnic minority players.
Ant was also criticised last year for some of his posts about the coronavirus pandemic, saying in March he would carry on with life as usual during the outbreak.
Ant was reportedly forced to quit his role as the Royal Navy’s Chief Cadet after just nine months, after his controversial ‘scum’ tweet about Black Lives Matter protesters.
The TV tough guy, who took on the role in November, was said to have left his bosses furious after posting the since-deleted tweet, amid protests over racial injustice after the death of George Floyd in the US.
Spokesperson said: ‘Following a number of discussions in relation to personal conduct it has become clear our views and values are not aligned and we will not be working with him again’
On June 14, Ant tweeted: ‘The extreme left against the extreme right. When did two wrongs make a right. It was only a matter of time. BLM and EDL are not welcome on our streets, absolute scum. What a great example you are to your future generation. Bravo.’
The tweet was in response to a video which claimed to be of ‘BLM/Antifa agitator hunting lone veterans and football lads in packs’.
Ant subsequently apologised, releasing a video message where he said: ‘I’d just like to clarify a tweet I’d put out at the weekend and deleted straight away once I’d re-read it and realised that it could cause offence.
‘I put out a tweet or retweeted a video of the violence, the terror and chaos that was happening on the streets of London.
‘Within that tweet I mentioned the BLM and EDL and the word ‘scum’. At no point was I calling the BLM scum and comparing the two organisations. I want to make that really, really clear.
‘The word scum was used to describe the people in the video that were violent, that were causing terror on the streets of London and setting a bad example for our future generations.’
He further clarified his comments in an interview with The Mirror, saying: ‘On Saturday night, I made comments about the violence breaking out across our streets.
‘While I remain dismayed at these actions, I am horrified to realise that my wording could be misconstrued. I did not mean to say that BLM are scum, or to imply that BLM and the EDL are equivalent.
‘I was trying to make a comment about violent protesters of any kind who I despise. I accept that my tweet was inappropriate and offensive and would like to apologise unconditionally. I am anti-racist, anti-hate and anti-violence.
‘I believe in the right to protest, but change must come about through peaceful and legal means.’
In June, Channel 4 had set out a ‘new and clear commitment’ to be an anti-racist organisation and said Ant’s tweet ‘in no way represent the views of Channel 4’.
In March 2020 the former solider took to Instagram to announce that he was continuing on with life as usual during the outbreak and ended his video recording with the terse statement: ‘F**k COVID-19.’
Ant revealed once lockdown hit his post ‘crashed’, as followers turned on him for encouraging people to go about their business.
Ant later admitted that his comments were wrong and told Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: ‘I went from hero to zero’.
Explaining that he felt ‘sheltered’ from the virus when he made the comments and never expected the global outbreak of the deadly virus.
He said: ‘Some of my controversial quotes on social media were in the moment. I was in New Zealand sheltered from the coronavirus.
‘When it comes to a global pandemic which I didn’t know was going to happen, that came and bit me in my behind. Sometimes I get it wrong and put my hand and up said look my information was wrong.’
‘Everyone was like, Ant we agree with you and then lockdown came and the pandemic hit and that Instagram post was outdated, it crashed really quickly. I went from hero to zero.’
Ant insisted he was happy to own up to his mistake after receiving online backlash over his comments made at the start of the pandemic.
He said: ‘Failure is an everyday part of life. It’s not a nasty word. I’ll fail till the day I die and so will everyone else. Once you acknowledge it, you can turn it around. The moment you shy away from it, this negative circle will keep coming.’
Controversial: It comes shortly after he was reportedly been forced to quit his role as the Royal Navy’s Chief Cadet after just nine months
‘When it comes to hardship, that’s what builds resilience. Sometimes we do come second third or maybe last. You get resilient from that.’
‘To ignore that in schools, it’s unhealthy. It doesn’t prepare you for everyday life. You’re wrapped up in cotton wool. When you’re expected to stand on your own two feet, they’re not prepared for it.’
Ant previously admitted he had made a mistake with his post and deleted it because it contradicted government advice and he ‘wouldn’t want people to come across that now’.
In March, Ant uploaded an apology video and confessed: ‘I’ve come out of this bubble, I’ve realised I’ve probably been a bit insensitive towards the scale of the crisis that’s happening in the UK and the forever changing situation and advice that’s been given.
‘I decided to take down my previous post because some of the advice I gave now goes against government advice and I wouldn’t want people to come across that now.
‘I’ve decided to admit that I made a mistake. I always talk about integrity, take that on the chin and come back to the UK and do the best that I possibly can.’
He praised the emergency services as well as NHS staff and other key employees working throughout the crisis.
The original post read: ‘Am I still out travelling the world? Yes. Am I still shaking hands? Yes. Am I still cuddling fans at the airport? Yes. Am I washing my hands and keeping my hygiene to a high standard as always? Yes.
‘Has my life changed? No. Am I going to let some disease, COVID-19, dictate my life? Absolutely not. Get out there, don’t change, F**k COVID-19!’
Captioning his clip, Ant said that fans should thank him if they end up contracting the virus from him, because it will ultimately make them stronger.
He said: ‘I do love my fans who come up to me and want a cuddle or a handshake but feel really awkward, so I simply pull them in anyway.
‘Don’t worry if I give it to you, your immune system will be stronger after then you can come back and thank me with a kiss! Stay clean and keep doing your thing!
‘P.S I haven’t got Covid-19 but probably have had it like the majority of you but Ssshhh!’
In one Instagram video in March, Ant insisted he didn’t care if he got Covid and compared it to the flu.
He said: ‘I don’t care if I get it, I’ll fight it off. We don’t let the flu stop us do we? If you’re vulnerable, protect yourself and allow us to keep the economy going.
‘Allow us to live normal lives and stop this panic. It’s equivalent to our shores being breached by an enemy force. Do we pick up the weapons and fight it or do we all run for the hills and hide away and isolate ourselves?
‘Ultimately the problem doesn’t go away. We’ve got to tackle it head on. For those that can fight Covid-19 head on, let’s do it. For those that can’t, isolate yourselves, protect yourselves and allow us to keep the economy going.
‘Covid-19 doesn’t bother me, neither should it for you if you are young fit and healthy. Be sensitive to spreading it, be sensitive to the situation and be sensitive to the vulnerable.’
Quit: Navy chiefs were also said to be furious about the star’s online rant about Government advice to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in March
Navy chiefs were said to be furious about the star’s online rant about Government advice to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Ant later apologised for his comments.
He was given the option to quit or be sacked by admiralty bosses exasperated with his controversial behaviour.
A source told The Sun: ‘He never thought he’d be given such a difficult choice. But he has decided to take matters into his own hands and step down. He’s gutted.’
A Ministry of Defence spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The Ministry of Defence is not prepared to comment as this is a private matter.’
Ant was given the boot by Soccer Aid 2020 amid fears involvement would offend other players