Former Mumford & Sons musician Winston Marshall compared the artists boycotting Spotify over vaccine “misinformation,” to Soviet-era censors.
Marshall, who left his band so the other members would not be subjected to cancellation, after he was “publicly condemned” for criticizing Antifa last year, wrote an open letter lambasting the music industry for promoting censorship.
The banjo player reminded readers about the Soviet Union’s 1984 crackdown on rock bands, which forbade them from performing live sets that weren’t written by state sanctioned composers.
“In 2022, the censors are not in charge of governments. Something resembling a bottom-up authoritarianism has become the norm. Or perhaps one could call it lateral censorship. It’s artists shutting down other artists—or trying to,” he wrote.
He explained that Neil Young “made a clarion call” that was “a clear stand against the cultural norm of free speech,” which he found “strange,” as his cohorts “standing passionately against speech,” including Joni Mitchell, Harry and Megan, Stewart Lee, India Arie, and Young’s old bandmates, Crosby, Stills and Nash, “are all apparently liberals.”
“How can any artist possibly create without free speech?” Marshall questioned. “How are they supposed to be artists if they’re scared that making a mistake or taking a risk that another artist doesn’t like will get them kicked off the very platform that allows them to share their art in the first place?”
He said that “outliers on hot-button topics” are scarce, and those who speak up like former president Donald Trump, Kanye West, and J.K. Rowling, “are attacked viciously” by their peers.
“Criticism is, of course, fine, but attempts to deplatform have gone too far,” he Marshall noted. “Under this sort of pressure, who can be surprised that artists are acting less like artists … and more like, well, Soviet drones?”
He suggested that a “healthier response from Neil Young would’ve been for him to start his own Spotify podcast,” rather than boycotting the platform. “If Neil has the answers, let’s hear them.”
Marshall also blasted the White House for “encouraging” the music streamer to take more action against Rogan.
“Maybe a return to Soviet-style censorship is well on its way. But this time supported by artists in favor of orthodox establishment thought,” the letter concluded.