The guitarist and banjo player said he would "examine my blindspots"

By Nicholas Rice
March 10, 2021 02:40 PM
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Winston Marshall
Credit: Jo Hale/Redferns

Mumford & Sons' guitarist and banjo player, Winston Marshall, is stepping away from the band for the near future.

On Tuesday, the 33-year-old musician made the revelation after he previously faced criticism from fans for endorsing a new book by a conservative journalist, Andy Ngo.

In a statement shared on social media, Marshall said he would use this time away from Mumford & Sons to "examine my blindspots."

"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 tweeted. "As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots."

"For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior," he added. "I apologize, as this was not at all my intention."

In the initial tweet, which has since been deleted alongside every other post on Marshall's account, the musician congratulated Ngo on the release of his book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.

"Congratulations @MrAndyNgo," he wrote, according to Entertainment Weekly. "Finally had time read your important book. You're a brave man."

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Mumford and Sons
Credit: David Becker/Getty

In a Twitter message sent on Wednesday, Ngo appeared to seemingly respond to the controversy surrounding Marshall in his own statement, without tagging the musician or anyone else specifically in his post.

"I grieve for those who are made to suffer because they dare to read my work, or talk to me," he tweeted. "The danger of Antifa & their allies is not only their willingness to carry out or support maiming, killing & terrorism—but also how they close curious minds from independent thought."

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Though Mumford & Sons have yet to issue a statement on Marshall's initial tweet or his decision to take a break from the band, the controversy surrounding the social media post comes a few years after the "I Will Wait" group became entangled in a similar uproar back in 2018.

At the time, various members of the group posed for a photograph with conservative YouTube personality and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, whom EW reported "had been accused of transphobia, misogyny, and Islamophobia."

In the image, shared from within a Mumford & Sons recording studio, Peterson can be seen posing with band members in London.

Marshall told CBC Radio at the time that he didn't believe "that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say," adding, "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," he also noted, defending the reasoning behind time spent with Peterson.