Winston Marshall, lead guitarist and banjoist for inexplicably British folk band Mumford & Sons, has announced today that he’s quitting the group, in hopes that his political opinions will no longer tarnish the reputation, or muddy the public acclaim, surrounding either Mumford or his sons. This is per a Medium essay Marshall posted earlier today, in which he quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, waxes nostalgic for the early days of banjo-based touring, and essentially retracts an earlier apology he issued for the incident that kicked off this whole weird chapter of people thinking this much about the guy from Mumford & Sons in 2021, wherein he promoted a book by Portland-area nuisance Andy Ngo about anti-fascist groups, and labeled him “brave” for writing it
Marshall made the tweet in question back in March, with the resulting backlash drawing attention, not only to the Ngo situation, but also to that earlier time when Marshall decided to introduce Jordan “Crisis Of Masculinity” Peterson to his bandmates for a fun afternoon of (we’re assuming) cleaning their rooms and complaining about “political correctness” and “feminine chaos.” At the time, Marshall gave a fairly textbook (if undeniably British-spelled) apology for his endorsement of Ngo, stating that, “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.” Now, though: Not so much.
On reflection, Marshall writes, he really does think Ngo—who’s made headlines in recent years for inserting himself into Portland-area protests, publicizing the faces and personal details of antifa protestors to his very angry followers, and occasionally getting punched in the face for his trouble—is “brave” for behavior that others might term “provocative,” or “likely to get someone killed,” or “one of the shitter ways to get yourself a Fox News appearance.” So, why apologize at all? Well:
In the mania of the moment I was desperate to protect my bandmates. The hornets’ nest that I had unwittingly hit had unleashed a black-hearted swarm on them and their families. I didn’t want them to suffer for my actions, they were my priority.
Now, though, like a banjo-playing Spider-Man, Marshall can no longer accept that his heroism might be putting those he loves in danger. And, thus, a parting of the ways:
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. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future.
In case you were curious, yes: There is also a Winston Churchill quote about courage somewhere in the piece.