Mumford & Sons co-founder Winston Marshall is ditching his band so he’ll be able to discuss politics without his band “suffering the consequences” of his opinions.
Marshall took a brief hiatus from the folk music group in March after he congratulated journalist Andy Ngo for his “courageous” book about “ANTIFA’s radical plan to destroy democracy.” He later apologized for his endorsement being “viewed as approval of hateful, divisive behavior.”
The banjoist announced his departure from the band on Thursday in a blog post on Medium. “Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic. I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be,” he explained about his controversial tweet.
“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,” he went on. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust.”
He said that he regretted the “distress” being labeled as a fascist placed on his band and their families, and that apologizing for the tweet only proved to exacerbate the situation.
“Rather predictably another viral mob came after me, this time for the sin of apologizing. Then followed libelous articles calling me “right-wing” and such, he wrote.
“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,” Marshall continued. “Being labeled erroneously just goes to show how binary political discourse has become. I had criticized the “Left”, so I must be the “Right”, or so their logic goes.”
After months of reflection, he believes apologizing for the tweet “participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good,” and maintains his prior assessment about Ngo’s accomplishment. “The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave.”
Marshall made the decision to leave the band because “for me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble.”
“I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity,” he concluded. “The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences.