Mumford & Sons‘ Winston Marshall will be taking a break from the band after being criticised online for endorsing a book from right-wing agitator Andy Ngo.
Earlier this week, Marshall praised Ngo’s recently released book, Unmasked, calling it “important” and praising him as a “brave man”.
In the book, which promises to delve “inside ANTIFA’s radical plan to destroy democracy”, Ngo calls the Proud Boys a “pro-Trump fraternity” while referring to left-wing activists as a “marauding gang” whose mission is to “destroy the nation-state, America in particular”.
After receiving backlash, Marshall has apologised for endorsing Ngo’s book, acknowledging how it could be perceived as “approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour”.
“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,” Winston said on social media.
“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. I apologise, as this was not at all my intention.”
— Winston Marshall (@MrWinMarshall) March 10, 2021
In the past, Ngo’s credibility has been brought into question, with the Columbia Journalism Review describing him as a “discredited provocateur” in 2019. Elsewhere, Buzzfeed News has described Ngo as “willing to make himself the story and to stream himself doing it. He proceeds from a worldview and seeks to confirm it, without asking to what degree his coverage becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy”.
Back in 2018, Mumford & Sons responded after they faced criticism over a photo that saw several members posing with controversial right-wing academic Jordan Peterson.
The photo caused a stir online, in the wake of Peterson’s often-criticised views on the subjects of feminism and gender identity. He has previously claimed that Islamophobia is “a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons,” that white privilege is a “Marxist lie,” and that “the idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.”
“I primarily was very interested in Dr. Peterson’s work on psychology, read both his books and found it very, very interesting, and met him [through] a mutual acquaintance and invited him down to the studio whilst he was in London on tour, which was very interesting and one of many interesting visits [from various figures] we had in the studio”, Marshall explained afterwards of the band’s decision to meet with Peterson.
Marshall also responded to Power’s question of whether the band risked alienating fans who identified as feminists or LGBTQ+.
“I don’t think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say,” he said.