Evangelist Tony Anthony sought £20million for film deal

Southend Standard: Tony Anthony preaching Tony Anthony preaching

A SOUTHEND evangelist whose “extraordinary true story” has been dismissed as largely made-up hoped to pull in £20million from investors to turn it into a blockbuster movie.

Tony Anthony, 43, from Briarwood Drive, Leigh, used charity money to distribute thousands of copies of the autobiography Taming the Tiger, which in turn promoted the planned film.

This week, the Echo revealed he stepped down from the Avanti Ministries charity he founded, after an evangelist panel investigated the book and concluded large parts were not true.

The charity, based in Clarence Road, folded last week.

The book described howMr Anthony was raised by a Chinese grandfather from the age of four to become a threetime world kung fu champion and elite bodyguard, before becoming a dangerous gangster and jailed in Cyprus where he found God.

It was taken off sale by publisher Authentic Media last week.

Mr Anthony purchased 100,000 copies of his own book through Avanti Ministries, on a royalty-free basis, before distributing it free to people and promoting it through the charity.

It has sold about 1.5 million copies worldwide and been translated into 30 languages.

The book has also been available to buy for £5 on his website. Avanti recorded income from sales of books in its accounts, including £26,000 in 2007.

Malcolm Down, Authentic Media publishing manager, said: “We sold 200,000 copies in the UK. About 100,000 were sold by us with royalties paid.

The other 100,000 were bought by Avanti on a royalty- free basis.”

He could not confirm international sales “handled by 25 publishers”.

Mr Anthony said on the website: “The depth is in the truth of the story.

“We will require an investment budget of £20million, including a first phase development budget of £500,000.”

Mr Anthony maintains the substance of the book is true and is working on a revised issue with a disclaimer for names and dates that were changed to protect people’s identities. He added the film project would continue.

More than £60,000 of charity money was also paid to Mr Anthony and wife Sara Anthony to allow them to travel the globe promoting the book.
Accounts for Avanti Ministries show more than £62,000 was paid to the married couple between 2004 and 2011.
Avanti funded evangelists' trips to countries including New Zealand, Canada, the far east, South Africa and Europe.
In 2010 the charity raised £214,000 with Mr Anthony paid around £10,000 for travelling.
Mr Anthony said: "Despite a global reach, the organisation lived hand-to-mouth under immense financial pressure and each ministry trip had to be carefully and prayerfully considered.

On his website he said it was ridiculous he used his story to make money.
 

Comments (8)

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7:17pm Fri 26 Jul 13

supermadmax says...

howMr & threetime

Sounds like a good film, why do busybodies have to destroy everything ?
howMr & threetime Sounds like a good film, why do busybodies have to destroy everything ? supermadmax
  • Score: 3

7:52pm Fri 26 Jul 13

Lordmountfield says...

Con artist, hope he gets prison
Con artist, hope he gets prison Lordmountfield
  • Score: 16

9:04pm Fri 26 Jul 13

bannanaman1 says...

Prison again...

5 already times at least, 1 in Cyprus (for petty theft/burglary) , 1 for the hit and run lying and 4 for harrasment...

The Hit and run and harrasment were served together... surprising the harassment never featured in the book yet that was a large part of the time he served...

Avanti need to step up and take some responsibility, are they offering to buy back the fraudulent fiction books? what about his church, do they have anything to say? the vicar at Leigh Road Baptist Church, Steven Hembery gives the endorsement in book itself... shameful. It deserves a public apology at least.

More lying christians, what a surprise...

1.5 mill books only 100,000 given royalty free... where is all the money?

More and more questions and no answers... the sooner he is back in jail and those complicit in his fraud (or not taking action NOW) should suitably named, shamed an held to account.
Prison again... 5 already times at least, 1 in Cyprus (for petty theft/burglary) , 1 for the hit and run lying and 4 for harrasment... The Hit and run and harrasment were served together... surprising the harassment never featured in the book yet that was a large part of the time he served... Avanti need to step up and take some responsibility, are they offering to buy back the fraudulent fiction books? what about his church, do they have anything to say? the vicar at Leigh Road Baptist Church, Steven Hembery gives the endorsement in book itself... shameful. It deserves a public apology at least. More lying christians, what a surprise... 1.5 mill books only 100,000 given royalty free... where is all the money? More and more questions and no answers... the sooner he is back in jail and those complicit in his fraud (or not taking action NOW) should suitably named, shamed an held to account. bannanaman1
  • Score: 14

7:49am Sat 27 Jul 13

the citizen says...

A very shabby piece of journalism here. Whilst not condoning the activities of Tony Anthony, this just seems like a tacked -together story with a few figures gleaned from Avanti records held by the Charity Commissioners which ANYONE can access. I mean "an evangelist panel"...what's that? I know what it is (after a swift piece of research) and it is much more substantial than that. The Echo line makes no sense. It may become a film because since when has truth ever stopped a film maker ?
The money side is not a huge concern either. True if people supported something that was founded on lies then that is a REAL concern, and I am sure there are many disappointed people as a result.. But, I mean £62000 over 7 years is hardly "raking it in" at just under £9k per year? If he travels, say, 20 times a year, then travel for 2 works out at £250 per trip. Hardly excessive? Like I said, just looking at the facts of the money (as a separate issue from the falsehood of the life story of Mr Anthony) he hardly warrants this attention. It's not in the same league as one of the more infamous American tele-"evangelists" who rake in millions from the gullible and manipulated. Shabby, sensationalist journalism - shame on you Echo, and shame on Tony Anthony and Avanti for giving them the ammunition.
A very shabby piece of journalism here. Whilst not condoning the activities of Tony Anthony, this just seems like a tacked -together story with a few figures gleaned from Avanti records held by the Charity Commissioners which ANYONE can access. I mean "an evangelist panel"...what's that? I know what it is (after a swift piece of research) and it is much more substantial than that. The Echo line makes no sense. It may become a film because since when has truth ever stopped a film maker ? The money side is not a huge concern either. True if people supported something that was founded on lies then that is a REAL concern, and I am sure there are many disappointed people as a result.. But, I mean £62000 over 7 years is hardly "raking it in" at just under £9k per year? If he travels, say, 20 times a year, then travel for 2 works out at £250 per trip. Hardly excessive? Like I said, just looking at the facts of the money (as a separate issue from the falsehood of the life story of Mr Anthony) he hardly warrants this attention. It's not in the same league as one of the more infamous American tele-"evangelists" who rake in millions from the gullible and manipulated. Shabby, sensationalist journalism - shame on you Echo, and shame on Tony Anthony and Avanti for giving them the ammunition. the citizen
  • Score: 6

9:41am Sat 27 Jul 13

bannanaman1 says...

I agree the main issue is Tony and the Avanti Boards lying and cover up. However he could well have made millions out of his fraud...
So 1.5 Mill Books... only 100,000 were sold royalty free. Avantis accounts do not show profits from the sale of the other 1.4 MILLION books so presumably Tony/Angela Little were paid the royalty fee directly...
I agree the main issue is Tony and the Avanti Boards lying and cover up. However he could well have made millions out of his fraud... So 1.5 Mill Books... only 100,000 were sold royalty free. Avantis accounts do not show profits from the sale of the other 1.4 MILLION books so presumably Tony/Angela Little were paid the royalty fee directly... bannanaman1
  • Score: 8

6:49pm Sat 27 Jul 13

fiazco says...

This was my text to Tony whom I have known for 8 years.

I sent Tony this text>

Dear Tony,

After careful consideration of the facts and the conclusion of the Alliance investigation, I am satisfied that you have deliberately lied. You were never in China, you were never a bodyguard merely a security guard! you were never a Kung Fu champion. It beggars belief that you still are so deluded in your own mind that you refuse to repent. I believe that you concocted this story in prison with other inmates knowing how gullible Christians can be and you prayed on their trust. However Tony you failed to realise that there are many believers out there like myself who are not easily convinced. I had my doubts about your story but waited until there was evidence. I remember when I first met you in 2005 at your events in Reading where the writer of your book was also present Angela Little. I approached you and asked if I could speak to Angela, you appeared very nervous and defensive as to my reasons, and suggested I speak to you instead. Your response made me suspicious as to why you were defensive. In conclusion Tony let me say this to you.... YOU CAN'T KID A KIDDER... Repent Tony and make a public apology. It's somewhat a joke that at the end of your talks you spoke about Hell and how adulteress, murderous and liars would go to Hell, and yet you were and are the biggest liar. I believe you have a twisted deluded mind and had Jesus in your head rather in your heart. You will answer to God unless you make a public repentance..... Thank God I did not come to work alongside you to use your story amongst British Muslims, I thank God for protecting me against your lie... Fiaz

If an Eco reporter wishes to speak to me please do get in touch
This was my text to Tony whom I have known for 8 years. I sent Tony this text> Dear Tony, After careful consideration of the facts and the conclusion of the Alliance investigation, I am satisfied that you have deliberately lied. You were never in China, you were never a bodyguard merely a security guard! you were never a Kung Fu champion. It beggars belief that you still are so deluded in your own mind that you refuse to repent. I believe that you concocted this story in prison with other inmates knowing how gullible Christians can be and you prayed on their trust. However Tony you failed to realise that there are many believers out there like myself who are not easily convinced. I had my doubts about your story but waited until there was evidence. I remember when I first met you in 2005 at your events in Reading where the writer of your book was also present Angela Little. I approached you and asked if I could speak to Angela, you appeared very nervous and defensive as to my reasons, and suggested I speak to you instead. Your response made me suspicious as to why you were defensive. In conclusion Tony let me say this to you.... YOU CAN'T KID A KIDDER... Repent Tony and make a public apology. It's somewhat a joke that at the end of your talks you spoke about Hell and how adulteress, murderous and liars would go to Hell, and yet you were and are the biggest liar. I believe you have a twisted deluded mind and had Jesus in your head rather in your heart. You will answer to God unless you make a public repentance..... Thank God I did not come to work alongside you to use your story amongst British Muslims, I thank God for protecting me against your lie... Fiaz If an Eco reporter wishes to speak to me please do get in touch fiazco
  • Score: 11

10:34pm Sat 27 Jul 13

the citizen says...

bannanaman1 wrote:
I agree the main issue is Tony and the Avanti Boards lying and cover up. However he could well have made millions out of his fraud...
So 1.5 Mill Books... only 100,000 were sold royalty free. Avantis accounts do not show profits from the sale of the other 1.4 MILLION books so presumably Tony/Angela Little were paid the royalty fee directly...
Just looking at the maths.....Royalties vary from 8-15%. Book retails for £6.99. At 8% = 56p split between the writer (AL) and the source (TA). 1.4m books @ 56p = £770,000 Split between AL & TA.
This is the maths (approx).BUT it IS billed as a story. As much as some would find is distasteful, there may not be quite the deceit in the production and selling of the book. The question is the work of Avanti being based on a story rather than on full truth. It appears TA is adamant that nothing is untoward. The organisation that looked into this (at Avanti's request) think differently,. This may sadly run.
[quote][p][bold]bannanaman1[/bold] wrote: I agree the main issue is Tony and the Avanti Boards lying and cover up. However he could well have made millions out of his fraud... So 1.5 Mill Books... only 100,000 were sold royalty free. Avantis accounts do not show profits from the sale of the other 1.4 MILLION books so presumably Tony/Angela Little were paid the royalty fee directly...[/p][/quote]Just looking at the maths.....Royalties vary from 8-15%. Book retails for £6.99. At 8% = 56p split between the writer (AL) and the source (TA). 1.4m books @ 56p = £770,000 Split between AL & TA. This is the maths (approx).BUT it IS billed as a story. As much as some would find is distasteful, there may not be quite the deceit in the production and selling of the book. The question is the work of Avanti being based on a story rather than on full truth. It appears TA is adamant that nothing is untoward. The organisation that looked into this (at Avanti's request) think differently,. This may sadly run. the citizen
  • Score: 5

11:04pm Sat 27 Jul 13

bannanaman1 says...

They book was billed as the true story of Tony life and Tony has on multiple occasions (just look on youtube) told it as such, this has been disproved and yet he still maintains it is the truth...

He brings the name of Christians and the organisations he has associated with into disrepute.

That the board of Avanti, the Evangelical Alliance, Leigh Road Baptist Church and Authentic (the publisher) Angela Little and his 'mentors' George Verwer, Gwyn Jordan, David Chadwick, Paul Wilcox and Steven Hembery are not condemning this behaviour and acting to stop (or at least publicly denounce it) it is reprehensible, its poor leadership and bad management of this situation.

That Tony and Angela could possibly have profited between £.75 -£1.5 Million just makes it feel even worse.
They book was billed as the true story of Tony life and Tony has on multiple occasions (just look on youtube) told it as such, this has been disproved and yet he still maintains it is the truth... He brings the name of Christians and the organisations he has associated with into disrepute. That the board of Avanti, the Evangelical Alliance, Leigh Road Baptist Church and Authentic (the publisher) Angela Little and his 'mentors' George Verwer, Gwyn Jordan, David Chadwick, Paul Wilcox and Steven Hembery are not condemning this behaviour and acting to stop (or at least publicly denounce it) it is reprehensible, its poor leadership and bad management of this situation. That Tony and Angela could possibly have profited between £.75 -£1.5 Million just makes it feel even worse. bannanaman1
  • Score: 8

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