Earlier this this year, Mumford and Sons banjo player Winston Marshall found himself the target of a cancellation attempt by woke social justice warriors after showing public support for journalist Andy Ngô’s best-selling Antifa exposé, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy book.
In March, Marshall wrote on Twitter, “Congratulations Andy Ngo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,” a compliment to which the cancel culture mob immediately took offence and cited as justification for their subsequent labelling of the artist as an alt-right fascist.
On account of the backlash the Mumford and Sons banjoist faced upon giving praise to Ngô for the publication of his book, Marshall took to Twitter to announce that he was taking some time away from the band and apologise for showing support for the book.
“Over the past few days I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” the musician wrote on Twitter. “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 added, “As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots.”
“For now, please know that I realise how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour,” the artist concluded. “I apologise, as this was not at all my intention.”
It wasn’t just Marshall who found himself facing a cancellation attempt by social justice warriors, as the cancel culture mob unsurprisingly also went after Mumford and Sons in general, a turn of events which only aggravated the situation even further.
Now, three months after the controversy first began and in light of the giant wave of backlash faced directed towards his bandmates, Marshall has announced that he has come to the decision to quit the massively popular indie rock band.
Last weekend, Winston Marshall, a musician in Mumford & Sons, expressed support for my book, "Unmasked," in a 15-word tweet. 72 hours later, he had to issue an apology & announced he's taking time away from the band. I went on @FoxNews to give my response: https://t.co/IIabxonz6O pic.twitter.com/KX2yclkUJZ
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) March 11, 2021
In a June 24th Medium post, Marshall wrote, “At the beginning of March I tweeted to American journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Unmasked. ‘Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man’.”
“Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic, “he continued.” I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be. Over the course of 24 hours it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments.”
The artist then asserted that he had “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,” before explaining that the cancel culture mob’s accusing him of being a fascist was particularly shocking to him given what his family had to endure in the past.
“Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust,” Marshall explained. “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.”
Attempting to add some levity to his statement, Marshall then joked “I’ve had plenty of abuse over the years. I’m a banjo player after all,” before return to the topic at hand and adding, “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,” he recalled. “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.”
Though he claimed that other members of the band have actually encouraged him to stay, Marshall ultimately admitted that he was stepping away because he believed it to be the most appropriate decision.
“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,” he explained. “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.”
He added, “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,” explained Marshall, making a very valid point. “For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble.”
Declaring that “My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that,” Marshall then admitted, “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.”
Ultimately, Marshall announced, “The only way forward for me is to leave the band,” as he hoped that “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,” he concluded. “I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.”
The View hosts talk about me and the controversy over a Mumford & Sons member who quit the popular band after facing online & industry attacks for tweeting favorably about my book. pic.twitter.com/U8zrqUOlKN
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 29, 2021
It is certainly commendable to see Marshall admitting that his initial apology may have been rushed, especially because his heart was undoubtedly in the right place, but what’s even more commendable is the fact that he has made the need to be able to exercise his freedom of speech a personal priority.
That said, Marshall’s decision to leave Mumford and Sons was ultimately the result of yet another successful cancellation attempt by the woke mob. At least the banjoist seems to have made peace with this fact.
What do you make of Winston Marshall’s decision to quit Mumford and Sons? Be sure to let us know in the comments section down below or on social media!