Mumford & Sons member 'taking time away from the band' after promoting right-wing pundit's book
Banjo player Winston Marshall says he's going to "examine [his] blindspots."
Mumford & Sons guitarist and banjo player Winston Marshall says he's "taking time away from the band" following a controversy online in which he tweeted his support for right-wing pundit Andy Ngo's new book.
In a statement shared on Twitter Tuesday night, Marshall said he would use this time to examine his blindspots.
"Over the past few days I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed. I have offended not only a lot of people I don't know, but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that I am truly sorry," he said. "As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots. For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention."
In a since deleted tweet, Marshall promoted Andy Ngo's Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.
"Congratulations @MrAndyNgo," he wrote. "Finally had time read your important book. You're a brave man."
According to Rolling Stone, Ngo has become a notorious far-right figure for his associations to alt-right groups like Proud Boys (deemed a terrorist organization by the Canadian government) and Patriot Prayer. The Los Angeles Times, which reviewed Unmasked, states Ngo downplays the murders of Heather Heyer by white nationalists in Charlottesville and Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in his book. BuzzFeed News also reported how Ngo has been previously accused of misrepresenting facts and sharing selectively edited videos.
Seemingly in response to Marshall, Ngo tweeted, "I grieve for those who are made to suffer because they dare to read my work, or talk to me. The danger of Antifa & their allies is not only their willingness to carry out or support maiming, killing & terrorism — but also how they close curious minds from independent thought."
In 2018, Mumford & Sons courted controversy when a photo surfaced of its members posing with academic Jordan Peterson, who had been accused of transphobia, misogyny, and Islamophobia. Peterson shared the image on Instagram from the group's London studio.
"I don't think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say," Marshall told CBC Radio. "So I don't, really. Because then I wouldn't be able to have a photograph of anyone at risk of trying to offend anyone so I think I don't see the harm in engaging in conversation. And as I said earlier, primarily I'm interested in his psychological stuff, which I find very interesting."