Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall leaves band, defends praise of Andy Ngo’s book
Back in March, Mumford & Sons banjo player Winston Marshall apologized and took a leave of absence from the band after receiving criticism for praising the new book from right wing conspiracy theorist Andy Ngo on Twitter. He's now left the band entirely, Stereogum points out, posting a lengthy new piece on Medium, "Why I'm Leaving Mumford & Sons," where he looks back on his time with the band and explains why he's leaving. "As you might imagine," he writes, "it’s been no easy decision."
Marshall continues, talking about the time after his initial tweet to Ngo, which read, "Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.":
I’ve had plenty of abuse over the years. I’m a banjo player after all. But this was another level. And, owing to our association, my friends, my bandmates, were getting it too. It took me more than a moment to understand how distressing this was for them.
Despite being four individuals we were, in the eyes of the public, a unity. Furthermore it’s our singer’s name on the tin. That name was being dragged through some pretty ugly accusations, as a result of my tweet. The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much. I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue.
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 also writes about the apology he issued at the time he took a leave of absence from the band:
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.
"The only way forward for me is to leave the band," Marshall continues. "I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best."
Read his piece in full on Medium