Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall announced Tuesday that he would step away from the band days after the banjoist faced criticism for praising a book authored by Andy Ngo, a right-wing provocateur who condemned Antifa.
“Over the past few days, I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” Marshall tweeted. “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. As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blind spots.”
In the since-deleted tweet — in fact, Marshall has deleted all of the tweets on his account, leaving only his new apology — Marshall congratulated Ngo on the publications of Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,” Marshall tweeted at Ngo, a conservative journalist who came to prominence for his reporting of the Antifa protests in Portland.
Days after Marshall’s tweet caused an uproar on social media, the banjoist stepped away from his comments, adding Tuesday, “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.”
— Winston Marshall (@MrWinMarshall) March 10, 2021
Mumford & Sons have not commented on Marshall’s tweet or his indefinite break from the band. In 2018, the group caused a similar uproar when Marshall and fellow band members Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane were photographed in the recording studio with conservative YouTube personality and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.
“If people take that as an endorsement of his politics, that upsets me because I disagree with a lot of his politics,” Marcus Mumford told the Guardian of the photo, adding however that he would “fiercely defend my bandmates’ rights to listen to the guy.”
Conservative media figures have since chastised Marshall for apologizing, with Glenn Beck tweeting in response to the banjoist: “Sad. Who will have the guts to say, it is OK to disagree with me, even vehemently, but it is not OK to bully people into compliance. In America, we all have to live together. What is the left’s plan when 40% of the country won’t play their game?” Ngo also alluded to the Marshall apology, tweeting: “I grieve for those who are made to suffer because they dare to read my work, or talk to me.”