Over the weekend, Mumford & Sons’ banjoist Winston Marshall tweeted in support of right-wing troll Andy Ngo, writing, “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” Ngo’s book is titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy, so that says it all. Tweets came pouring in calling out Mumford & Sons, but they remained mum on Marshall’s tweet (which he deleted as soon as he saw people were not happy). On Tuesday night, Marshall finally released a statement on Twitter, saying he would be taking time off from the band.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
This isn’t the only time Mumford & Sons have been tied to controversial right-wing figures. In 2018, conservative pop-psychologist and lord of the incels Jordan B. Peterson posted a picture of himself with the band on Instagram. Guess who extended the invite to hang out? You got it, the banjo guy! In an interview with CBC Radio, Marshall defended the picture, saying he “was very interested in Dr. Peterson’s work on psychology, read both his books and found it very, very interesting,” so he decided to invite him to the studio.
When asked if he felt that the picture would alienate fans who disagree with Peterson’s harmful views, Marshall played it down, saying, “I don’t think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say. So I don’t, really. Because then I wouldn’t be able to have a photograph of anyone at risk of trying to offend anyone so I think I don’t see the harm in engaging in conversation. And as I said earlier, primarily I’m interested in his psychological stuff, which I find very interesting.” Well, you really fucked it up this time, didn’t you, banjo guy?