Ant Middleton has reportedly quit his role as the Royal Navy’s Chief Cadet after facing backlash over a comment on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
The former British soldier and television presenter has only been in the role since November 2019.
Why has Middleton quit?
Middleton, 39, has reportedly made the “difficult choice” to step down from his role after causing controversy on social media.
The television presenter appeared to criticise the Black Lives Matter movement in a tweet, in which he compared it to the English Defence League (EDL).
The now deleted tweet branded protesters as “scum”, sparking outrage from Twitter users.
In the tweet, Middleton wrote: “The extreme left against the extreme right! When did two wrongs make a right?!? It was only a matter of time BLM & EDL not welcome on our streets, absolute scum.
“What a great example you are to our future generation… BRAVO.”
Middleton, who fronts the Channel 4 series SAS: Who Dares Wins, was reportedly told he must resign from his role in the Navy, or be sacked.
Has Middleton responded to the backlash?
The TV star has since apologised for the comments he made on Twitter, stating it was not his intention to imply that the Black Lives Matter movement is equivalent to the English Defence League, and ackowleged his wording was inappropriate.
In a statement he said: “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 protestors 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.”
What is the Black Lives Matter movement?
Black Lives Matter campaigns against violence and systemic racism aimed at black people through protests and digital activism.
The campaign was founded in 2013 with the aim of eradicating white supremacy and building “local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes”.
The movement saw renewed interest this year following the death in police custody of 46-year-old black man George Floyd, and campaigners took to the streets across the globe to protest against black discrimination.
Floyd died while in police custody after an officer knelt on his knee for more than eight minutes, despite him being unarmed and crying out “I can’t breathe”.
Footage of the incident sparked worldwide protests, with demonstrators saying that this was another example of black people being targeted by authorities because of their race.