Ant Middleton says he'll take the flak for being an 'honest voice' on coronavirus & protesters

ANT Middleton has never been one to mince his words.

Straight-talking and refreshingly unwilling to follow the crowd, the SAS: Who Dares Wins TV instructor is a big believer in saying what you think.

But over the past few months that attitude has got him into trouble.

He was forced to apologise after his online posts about coronavirus, and then Black Lives Matter and far right protesters.

But Ant, 39, isn’t about to change how he is — and vows to keep speaking out about what he believes in.

In an exclusive interview, he tells The Sun: “An honest voice is a good one and you have to be prepared to take the flak.

“The moment you go out there and think you are someone else, that’s when you start to lose yourself.

“Sometimes I get it wrong, but I would rather do that and learn as I go.”

Ant has just released his third book, Zero Negativity, a guide to finding positives in even the most difficult and challenging situations.

As Ant writes: “I’ve got so much positive energy now that I sometimes feel as if you could run the National Grid off me.”

It is a mantra that has been sorely tested by the two media storms he has weathered recently.

He admits: “My brutal honesty has sometimes put me in a negative situation but I have to churn this negativity into positivity.”

The first controversy started in March, when he posted a “tough-love” video message on social media urging his followers to carry on as normal despite coronavirus — saying he was still happily hugging fans.

As the world rapidly went into lockdown, he faced a backlash and posted an apology.


Ant explains now: “When I posted the video there was no lockdown. That post went from hero to zero within five or six days.

“But what I meant was let’s just get on with it, let’s tackle it head-on, which is what I always do.

“I didn’t know a pandemic was all of a sudden coming to play. I didn’t know we would have to tackle this by doing nothing, which goes against everything for me.”

Ant corrected his mistake when government advice changed — even though he still finds the idea of fighting coronavirus by doing nothing a hard one to get his head around.

He adds: “This is obviously a lot more serious than I ever imagined. But I still stick to my mantra: If something tough is in front of you, tackle it head-on — unless it is a pandemic.”

There was another backlash in June after Ant posted a video of violence at anti-racism protests in London.

He tweeted: “The extreme left against the extreme right. BLM and EDL are not welcome on our streets, absolute scum. What a great example you are to your future generation. Bravo.”

When I ask if the tweet was misconstrued, he agrees, adding: “If you have half a brain cell you will realise what I was talking about.”

The violence he saw during those protests upset him so much, he says, because he spent his military career risking his life so the streets of Britain would be safe.

He explains: “It was the protesters fighting and violence and rioting in broad daylight.

“Everything I fought for abroad to stop happening on our shores.

“And if you look at some of those videos, we are talking extreme violence. You can see knives.

“I found it very disturbing. The way that people are going around and getting their message out at the moment, I don’t think it is right. It is just happening in broad daylight, in front of children.

“I know what violence and aggression does. I know how damaging, how punishing it can be.”

The controversy created by that tweet led to Ant stepping down as the Royal Navy’s Chief Cadet — a mentoring role he relished.

It’s clear that he was disappointed not to have the backing of military bosses.

He says: “The military have their agenda and they are maybe getting a little bit too sensitive nowadays.

“It is no skin off my nose. I wanted to do it for the children, I was doing it voluntarily and I raised some good funds for them.

“But those funds can go to someone else. I can put my time towards someone else that appreciates it.”

While Ant has had a glittering career with the military, serving in the Paras, the Marines and the Special Boat Service, he is not afraid to criticise his old employer.

When he left the SBS in 2012 he admits he had a “delayed adolescence” and started drinking heavily and fighting.

Ant admits: “Whenever I went out, my wife Emilie would expect to get a call from one of my mates, or the police, to say that I’d got into another fight.”

Things came to a head after Ant assaulted a female police officer — which landed him with a 14-month prison sentence.

He takes full responsibility and says “the shame and guilt” has driven him on to be a “better husband, a better father”.


Ant adds that many ex-service personnel struggle with the transition to civilian life.

Ant says: “You can’t compare civvy street with the military because in the military you are trained to be hard and you are brainwashed in a certain way to go into war.

“I’m not saying you want to cotton wool people, but the military is big at using people, moulding them in the way they want, then discarding them. They haven’t got a care package as such.”

Ant says it was only once he was out of the Forces that he got his “priorities straight”, and now puts Emilie, 39, and his five kids first.

He says: “I work hard but everything I strive for is so I can speed back home to my wife and children.”

And contrary to his hard-man persona on SAS: Who Dares Wins, Ant says he’s a softie at home.

He says with a smile: “I’m a fun- loving dad. When Dad walks in, if Mum says no then Dad says yes. Everyone thinks I would be a disciplinarian, but I am not.”

Having just finished filming an Australian version of SAS: Who Dares Wins, Ant is back in the UK and looking forward to his 40th birthday at the end of the month.

And typical of his style, he can see only the positives about hitting the milestone.

He enthuses: “Why would you say to yourself, ‘Oh, I am getting old’? That is when you start to believe it.

“So I’m embracing it. I feel like I’m only just getting started with what I want to achieve.”

So what’s next? Ant mentions a clothing line, or possibly getting into a tech business.

As he writes in his book: “By the time I’m 45 I want to have businesses where I’m making money when I sleep.

"If I told you that in five years’ time I’ll be the multi-millionaire owner of one of the biggest tech companies in the world, you’d tell me to shut up.

“But five years ago, when I was still in the military, if you’d told me I’d be a TV star and best-selling author, I’d have told you to shut up.”

Ant believes he can do just about anything with the power of positive thinking — and hopes his book will help readers to do the same.

He says: “If you have a positive mind you can lead a positive life.

“Live a nightmare in your head and you are going to live a nightmare.

“Or you can think up a dream and you are going to live a dream.”

  • ZERO NEGATIVITY: The Power Of Positive Thinking, by Ant Middleton, published by HarperCollins, is out now (RRP £20).

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