Eden, exposed

I had no intention of blogging today. My time in Eden is over and it was other peoples experience to share now. But after watching last night’s episode…. Well, where do I start?

It’s not exaggerating to say that I felt physically sick during the programme. I found myself shaking with anger, and my partner sat on the sofa with tears in her eyes. Maybe we still feel connected to Eden in some way, but I’ve never watched a piece of television that has made me react like that, the anger and disgust were very real.

Firstly, homophobic roleplay…. WHAT? I’m conscious that this is seven months of life condensed into two hour-long episodes, but even seven minutes of that is too much. To do it in front of someone in that way, I wonder how did they feel that was at all suitable? I know many LGBTQ people and I treat them the same way as I would anyone else, like FRIENDS.

Matt, you have the patience of a saint because that experience must have been soul-destroying. You did nothing to deserve that treatment.

Next. It’s always distressing to see someone upset, but what I saw on Katie’s face last night was heartbreaking. That was serious pain and anguish, not just “being tearful or a bit weepy”. I’m sure I’m not alone at shouting at the screen for Glenn to just leave her alone. How she dealt with all of that I have no idea because she was cornered in a space where she had no escape from a conversation that she clearly did not want to have at that time. Katie, I’m only thankful that you have Rob with you now.

Rob was an amazing friend to me there at a time when I struggled a lot. I’ll always be grateful to him for that. More so now, after seeing the gentle and compassionate way in which he approached issues and actions that he clearly cares about deeply. He spoke calmly and eloquently with the Valley Boys, explaining his reasoning clearly and respectfully. Unfortunately, there was to be no compromise, and if anything Rob just received abuse and criticism, to the extent that he was made to feel unwelcome in a community of which he was a vital part.

I’ve not used the b-word and I don’t need to. The actions of Eden’s participants are clear and available for all to see. I’ve also tried to be positive today, but I feel very raw about what I saw last night. Selfish and cowardly individuals ruined a social experiment that I had hoped would be an inspiration, something that we could hold up as an exemplar to people struggling for meaning and direction in their lives. Now I’m left saddened and anxious about the content of the final episode, tonight on Channel 4.

  1. newstartjan2018 on 11 August 2017 at 21:01

    Very nicely written. I must admit, I’m dreading tonight’s episode as I don’t really want to see how low some humanity can go, but I’ve watched up to now and will watch tonight. I think, this whole experiment just goes to show that contrary to popular belief, humanity still has a hell of a long way to go xx

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:39

      Unfortunately I think you are right 🙁 but by the response we’ve had I think theres hope 🙂

  2. Shelley Wilson on 11 August 2017 at 21:02

    We have watched every episode and think the way you were oestrocised was appalling! The skills you had could have made their time much easier and so much more enjoyable! You maintained dignity the whole way though which can’t be said about some of the others. I’m just disappointed that they ruined your experience and brought it to an untimely end. At least you can hold your head up high! And them just wanting your house, made my blood boil!

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:41

      Thanks Shelly, I don’t think they ruined it though, it was an amazing (if not hard at times) experience that both Raph and I would do again at the drop of a hat.

    • G Payne on 21 August 2017 at 15:04

      From the first episode I was struck with your sincerity, pure dedication and almighty efforts in the face of seemingly consistent malicious machievilan efforts by a large number to undermine your every move. You were reasonable, patient, reflective, human and always articulate. Please know that my wife and I were cheering for you from the start and your efforts serve as a lasting reminder of the power of endurance.

  3. Mr Winning on 11 August 2017 at 21:56

    I just find it sad that in regressing to simpler living…somehow that brings simple masculinity to the floor & the females that have the strength ultimately didn’t use it & allowed the cavemen rubbish intellect to come out…name wonder women hate camping!!!🙄

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:43

      I think it was the individuals rather than a view of the population as a whole, I live in an amazing river community that is supportive and diverse. Trust me there is hope for us all yet 🙂

  4. Andy on 11 August 2017 at 22:17

    watched from the start. The internet is 100% behind you.

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:46

      we’ve noticed 😀 crazy support

  5. Pedro Hammondo on 11 August 2017 at 22:49

    Hang in there mate, you’re a good man, with a good heart, with good intentions. Eden aside there’s always going to be idiots ruining all sorts of experiences for all of us! I’m not saying you should ignore it but remember who you are and never forget how pathetic they are. Bullies are bullies mate, don’t let them get to you, they’re not worth the energy!

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:49

      Wise words, thank you Pedro. If anything it has united a lot of people and if it just stops one person receiving poor treatment then i’m grateful.

  6. Rebel Lizzie on 11 August 2017 at 23:04

    Hi Anton. I have every respect for the way you handled yourself in there. I do find it strange that people criticised you for having your own space and then went off and built cabins in the woods themselves. I have made a t-shirt in your honour: https://www.teezily.com/too-many-logs-too-many-many-logs Hope you like it.

  7. Campbell on 11 August 2017 at 23:06

    My wife and I both got into it last year. Like castaways but grittier and on the mainland. But the program disappeared and we were left wondering what went wrong. This week we had the chance to find out…….. Every episode was a nightmare and left us with a bad taste in our mouth. I feel bad that this happened in the highlands but I’m sure it pales in comparison as to what has happened in the highlands before.

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:55

      I must admit I was left in horror at some points, such a beautiful area and experience to have that maybe wasn’t embraced on the whole by many there. My personal aim was to show that sustainable living could be easily achieved and not that hard, luxurious even. I hope that came across in some small way. Anton

  8. Rebel Lizzie on 11 August 2017 at 23:10

    I hope you don’t mind me creating the t-shirt. I absolutely loved the rap and was so impressed by the positive attitude you showed throughout. It must have been a very difficult time for you. It looks like it all went a bit scewed after you left anyway so maybe you managed to escape the worst of it!

    • Anton Wright on 16 August 2017 at 08:56

      No problem at all Lizzie, x

  9. Lou on 11 August 2017 at 23:22

    Very eloquently said Anton. I struggled to watch the last couple of episodes, in particular the greed and subsequent abuse of animals; that was deeply distressing. How you survived as long as you did is a testament to your strength and resilience. I personally feel that the fight you put up to maintain individualism whilst belonging to a community highlighted how difficult it is to change ingrained mindsets and how much packs need a villain in order to validate their behaviours and decisions. It was also evident that your departure (and Raph’s) significantly altered the dynamics of the ‘community’ and it shouldn’t be overlooked just how much the community needed a common enemy to stay united – they quite literally broke apart when you guys left, and your critics took up residence in your very space, despite months of criticism for your decision to live separately from the rest of the community. Individualism and freedom of choice are not valued or embraced in our society, but you guys had the opportunity to change that; I’m only sorry that you were the only one to see it. Although I don’t like to tar ‘the others’ all with the same brush, they formed a community based on middle class capitalist values, which defeated the object as they had the chance to try something else and start from scratch. Taking with them the very values and cultural difficulties that we KNOW don’t work in our society into a brand new one could only have ended one way. What you and Raph managed to do, however, is show that it’s possible to fight and go against the grain whilst maintaining integrity. Fair fucks to you both – I only hope that you both get the chance to take part in a social experiment together in the future because I think it would be an exciting watch! All the best 🙂

    • pepsoid on 12 August 2017 at 15:30

      Unfortunately, Lou, those middle class capitalist values, that we ‘know’ don’t work in our society, are believed to work by too many, and so it was probably inevitable that such values were taken into a social experiment like Eden. Like you, however, I was pleased to see the individualism of Anton and Raph (and perhaps others, to less obvious degrees), and hope that the breakdown of the Eden society can send a message about the value of fairness, justice and not falling in with the crowd. Sadly I fear a niche reality TV show may fall short of this noble goal… 😢

      • Anton Wright on 13 August 2017 at 11:27

        Wise words, I think there is still hope though 🙂

    • Anton Wright on 13 August 2017 at 11:26

      Hi Lou, Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my blog.
      I’m heartened by the many responses that Raph and I are receiving that echo your comments, it’s true that it could have / should have been something much more and I’m pleased that Ch4 were brave in trying to do this as well as showing that it didn’t work, This Time…
      I live on a house boat and in an amazing community of different people with different lifestyles, maybe I assumed that the respect and understanding that I see in this community would be copied there, at least I hoped so.
      I’m still very thankful for the opportunity that I had there and also by the debate that has begun since the show aired.
      It turns out we are not all bad 🙂
      Anton

  10. David Reilly on 12 August 2017 at 09:04

    By taking part in the show Anton, I know that you will have gained respect of many thousands of people. You showed yourself to me a decent and compassionate human being while other fell far short of the mark. Some of the others will be, or should be, feeling very ashamed but you can hold your head high.
    Well Done.

    • Anton Wright on 13 August 2017 at 11:30

      Thanks David, the support has been very humbling.
      I don’t feel I was alone there in my values by any stretch of the mark I think maybe sometimes people think who shouts loudest must be right.
      Still an amazing opportunity that i am thankful to have been part of.
      Love from Anton at #Rafton HQ 🙂

  11. Julia Cherrill on 12 August 2017 at 09:20

    Beautifully put. You and your loved ones should be proud of the way you conducted yourself against such horrors.

    • Anton Wright on 13 August 2017 at 11:31

      Thank you, they are 🙂
      It wasn’t all bad, I met some amazing people and enjoyed my time in Eden although that might not show as much.
      Thanks again, Anton

    • Anton Wright on 13 August 2017 at 11:32

      Ah yes Dan, I saw this on twitter and really liked the fact that you engaged with my blog, Thanks again for an amazing insight and well written blog.
      Peace and Love, Anton

  12. Martin on 12 August 2017 at 15:17

    Thank you Anton for taking part. After they made you and Raph leave, I wasn’t going to watch the rest, but curiosity got the better of me. Shocking.
    The bullying, manipulation and aggression towards you made me sad, as you are a strong, intelligent, skilled individual who knows who he is (as opposed to the majority of the boys on the show, who have no clue who they are, and could only find identity through primal pack behaviour). I have a lot of respect and admiration for what you built, and the way you handled yourself when they threw you out.
    Anyway, thank you, and hold your head up high and be proud!

  13. pepsoid on 13 August 2017 at 12:43

    Having now seen the final episode, I have to say I came away feeling quite empty and glum. On further reflection, though, I think it’s good that Ch4 didn’t try to wrap up the negativity in a “But things all worked out well in the end,” as too often seems to happen with these things. Adversity doesn’t always bring out the best in people – sometimes the worst. There is, however, a value in travelling through the darkness, in order to more clearly see the light. I know it all ended for you guys, Anton, a few months ago now, so you’ve hopefully had quite a bit of (positive?) reflection time etc. I think I’d like to now take a little journey through the mediasphere to see if Katie has managed to find an Eden-inspired light…

  14. Roy on 13 August 2017 at 15:04

    Thank you for blogging. The Eden has been on our minds since we watched you get “voted out” last night. We being myself and my wife. So its good to read how you are doing, and to have the opportunity to send a message of support. Love and respect to you in bucket loads. Blessings, Roy.

  15. Caitlin on 15 August 2017 at 18:19

    Anton I’m so sorry that you had to go through that experience with those vile creatures. You were the only contestant I had respect for from start to finish and I’m sure lots of people feel the same. It’s a shame that Channel 4 found such awful people for the programme and that they couldn’t find more decent people like you. I really believe in this day and age that there can’t really be people out there in the world that would have acted like the ‘Valley Boys’ – can there? I pray that real men are much better than that and you certainly showed that you are one of those real men who stayed true to themselves and what they believe in. I don’t normally write on blogs/social media but like you I was so angry, shaken and sickened by that episode. Thanks for restoring my faith in people and I hope the support of the public has made the terrible experience you went through somehow a little more positive. Take care, Caitlin.

  16. Emma on 19 August 2017 at 19:39

    I’m watching the series now and both my girlfriend and I very quickly decided we would be ‘Antons’ if we were in similar circumstances; we’re very much admiring your resistance to the herd mentality and your strong sense of principles.

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