Music | March 11, 2021 3:14 pm

Mumford & Sons Banjoist Winston Marshall “Taking Time Away From the Band” After Controversial Tweet

Marshall praised far-right author Andy Ngo and his book

Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons performs during the Okeechobee Music Festival at Sunshine Grove on March 08, 2020 in Okeechobee, Florida.
Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons performs during the Okeechobee Music Festival on March 08, 2020.

After online backlash following a since-deleted tweet in which he praised far-right author Andy Ngo, Mumford & Sons banjoist and lead guitarist Winston Marshall has announced that he is “taking some time away from the band.”

It all began when Marshall praised Ngo and his book Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy on the social media platform. “Finally had the time to read your important book,” Marshall wrote in the now-deleted tweet. “You’re a brave man.”

That didn’t sit well with many of the band’s fans, and apparently his bandmates were none too pleased either. Marshall eventually posted a statement apologizing for offending and announcing his departure from the group.

“Over the past few days I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” he wrote. “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 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.”

Naturally, this led to some pushback and cries of “cancel culture,” but it’s important to note this is a different scenario than someone being fired from their regular office job over their political beliefs. No one is entitled to be in a popular band, and just like Marshall has every right to believe whatever he wants, his fans have every right to disagree with him and stop supporting his music if they so desire. Free speech doesn’t mean you’re free from consequences when your speech leads people to believe you’re an asshole.

A band is sort of like a marriage, and his Mumford & Sons cohorts have every right to give him the boot if they no longer are seeing eye to eye for whatever reason. (Ever heard of “creative differences”?)