Tony Anthony: 'Fake' accusations are 'unfair'

Published 18 July 2013

"I continue to stand wholeheartedly by the truth of my life story," Taming the Tiger author Tony Anthony has said in a statement.

The evangelist has issued a public statement defending the account of his life and conversion to Christianity made in the popular book after an inquiry by Avanti Ministries supported by the Evangelical Alliance concluded that sections of Taming the Tiger were untrue.

The inquiry led Taming the Tiger's publisher, Authentic Media, to withdraw the book and accompanying resources from sale.

The investigation followed complaints about Anthony's claims in the book, which include that he was taken to China at the age of four and trained in Kung Fu by his grandfather, as well as working as an elite bodyguard.   

In a joint statement, the Evangelical Alliance and Avanti Ministries, which Anthony helped to establish, said that "large sections" of the book and associated materials "which claim to tell the true story of Tony Anthony's life, do not do so".

Both organisations said they "take serious note" of the inquiry's findings and as a result Avanti said it was "no longer appropriate" to continue supporting Taming the Tiger. The organisation has since decided to close entirely.  

"After much prayer Avanti have decided the time has come to close its ministries," a statement on its website says. "The Board of Avanti ministries would like to thank all for their support and prayers over the years and give thanks to God for so much achieved in so many lives."

In his statement, Anthony said information about his family history had come to light that he was unaware of when first working on Taming the Tiger and that he now fully accepted that some of the details in the book "are no longer historically accurate".

"For example, as a very young boy I was raised to believe that the man in whose house I lived and who trained me in Kung Fu was my grandfather. It has since come to light that this individual was not my biological grandfather," he said.

"Whilst I now recognise this is the factual truth, I cannot accept that the reporting of my memory as it appears in Taming the Tiger is 'incorrect'. It is wisely recognised that it is common for people to recall past events differently.

"Moreover, to be accused of being a 'fake' because of such inaccuracy is unfair and unfounded."

Anthony said Taming the Tiger was intended as the story of his early life and that the book "never set out to be a strict historical account of each and every event with supporting minutiae".

"As such, it remains a 'true story', descriptively told and consistent with many other similar publications in its genre. At the time I began relating the events of my life as I remembered them to my co-writer I could never have anticipated the scrutiny with which certain historical accuracies would be examined."

Anthony went on to say that some details of his life story were presented with "considered alteration of identities, places and some circumstances in order to appropriately protect confidentiality".

He plans to publish an update to the book that will include corrections and seek to address areas of doubt and criticism concerning the original.

Revised editions of the book will include a clear disclaimer, he said, stating that some scenes in the book have been "dramatised with authentic though not necessarily actual dialogue, and - to protect the author and his family, and the rights of those whose paths he has crossed - some of the names, places, and details of the events have been altered".

Tony Anthony's statement can be read in full on his website at http://www.tonyanthony.co.uk/

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