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SAS: Who Dares Wins chief instructor Ant Middleton has opened up about 'butting heads' with Channel 4, after he was dropped by the network yesterday (Monday 1 March).
Channel 4 said he was axed due to his 'personal conduct' and said its 'values are not aligned' with the 40-year-old's; however, Middleton claims he 'walked away' because the programme was being turned into a 'reality show'.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: "I think that ultimately what has happened is that the people that make the show and I have very different opinions on where the show started and where it is going in the future.
"When I started making the show and as I was involved from the beginning, it was very simple and at its core it was to show what Special Forces' selection was. And I am sad to say that in recent years the producers of the show have drifted from this and it has become more of a reality show than I feel comfortable with.
"I have decided to walk away from it, it is clear Channel 4 and I have fallen out over it and that is regretful. I have butted heads with some of the team but ultimately it is out of a passion for what I wanted to do and that's make the best show possible.
"I have been fighting for the show to be as close and as authentic to the selection process as possible. The viewers deserve it, the fans deserve it and the recruits too. They sign up to the show for an experience, it is often life changing and to try and fake that doesn't feel right. I always want to stay as true to myself as possible and what the show should be."
He added: "I am really disappointed with the way that this has been handled, after working with them for five years I would have expected better. But I am genuinely very excited about what is on the table this year anyway and this is the start of a very exciting year for me, so I wish the show the best for the future but it is time for me to walk away from it.
"I am very proud of the show and proud of what we have achieved with the show and there is no doubt that being part of that has been one of my favourite experiences of my professional career."
A Channel 4 spokesperson told LADbible: "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 came under fire in June when he labelled Black Lives Matters protestors 'scum'.
He 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."
Before that, in March, he was heavily criticised for encouraging his followers to flout coronavirus restrictions.
In a video shared on Instagram, he said: "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."
Following the backlash, he appeared to reconsider his position.
In a subsequent video, he said: "Now I've come out of this bubble, I've realised I've probably been a bit insensitive towards the magnitude, the scale of the crisis, that's happening in the UK and the forever changing situation and advice that's being given.
"So what I've decided to do is take down my previous post because some of the advice that I give (sic) now goes against government advice and I wouldn't want people to come across that now."
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