British broadcaster Channel 4 has said that it will no longer work with Ant Middleton, the star of its successful SAS: Who Dares Wins show, after his comments on the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic.
Middleton has become a major television star in the UK after first appearing in military survival show SAS: Who Dares Wins in 2015. Since then, he has gone on to front solo projects for Channel 4, including Escape and Extreme Everest. He recently fronted Ant Middleton & Rebel Wilson: Straight Talking for Sky.
But Middleton raised eyebrows last year over comments he made about Black Lives Matter and Covid-19. In a now-deleted tweet posted last June, Middleton wrote: “BLM and EDL are not welcome on our streets, absolute scum. What a great example you are to your future generation. Bravo.”
Middleton later posted an apology video, in which he said he was not referring to the movement as “scum.” Instead, he was directing the insult at the individuals in a video that had prompted his original tweet. The video purported to show a “BLM/Antifa agitator.”
Middleton was also criticized for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus in an Instagram video. He claimed that he was going about his life as normal despite the virus — and others should do the same.
“Am I still out traveling 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,” he said. “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*** Covid-19!”
The comments do not sit well with Channel 4’s positioning in recent months. The broadcaster has embraced the government’s “stay at home” coronavirus messaging, while it has also positioned itself as an anti-racist organization that has given voice to those in the Black Lives Matter movement.
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: “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.”
Middleton tweeted that he had decided “it’s time to move on” from SAS: Who Dares Wins. He said: “Big respect to my fellow DS – it’s 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.”
Deadline has contacted Sky to establish whether it intends to continue working with Middleton on future episodes of Straight Talking, in which he travels into the wilderness with stars. Wilson featured in the most recent episode of the Potato-produced show, while Liam Payne has also starred.
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