Winston Marshall Leaves Mumford & Sons, Claims That He’s Not Really Far Right, & Says He Shouldn’t Have Apologized For Andy Ngo Tweet
Winston Marshall, lead guitarist and banjo player for British arena-folk stars Mumford & Sons, has left the band amidst a storm of controversy. Earlier this year, Marshall tweeted in support of Andy Ngo, a right-wing troll and noted fake journalist, upon the publication of Ngo’s book Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy. Marshall called Ngo “a brave man.” It didn’t go over well. In the aftermath of the inevitable outcry, Marshall apologized and said that he would be “taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots.” Apparently, Marshall is done examining those blindspots, and he’s decided that he doesn’t have any after all. He’s also left Mumford & Sons.
In a new Medium post titled “Why I’m Leaving Mumford & Sons,” Marshall rhapsodizes about his time in the band, and he also writes about what happened after he tweeted in support of Ngo:
Over the course of 24 hours it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments. I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived. She and I were close. My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me “fascist” was ludicrous beyond belief.
Marshall, who refers to himself as a “shitkicker from Mortlake,” also says that his former bandmates invited him to stay with the group, and he invokes the dreaded double-C phrase:
Emotions were high. Despite pressure to nix me they invited me to continue with the band. That took courage, particularly in the age of so called “cancel culture”. I made an apology and agreed to take a temporary step back.
Rather predictably another viral mob came after me, this time for the sin of apologising. Then followed libellous articles calling me “right-wing” and such. Though there’s nothing wrong with being conservative, when forced to politically label myself I flutter between “centrist”, “liberal” or the more honest “bit this, bit that”. Being labeled erroneously just goes to show how binary political discourse has become. I had criticised the “Left”, so I must be the “Right”, or so their logic goes.
Marshall says that he apologized for that tweet to protect his bandmates but that, upon reflection, he was wrong to do so:
I have spent much time reflecting, reading and listening. The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right. The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good.
Finally, Marshall says that he’s leaving the band because he wants to be able to say what he wants, without affecting the people who were around him: “I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning… I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.” You can read Marshall’s full statement here.