Winston Marshall quits Mumford & Sons after Andy Ngo controversy, citing free speech

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From The Guardian. A more balanced report of this than the music magazine Rolling Stone. But then rock and roll isn’t the rebellion it once was. But maybe will be again. 

Winston Marshall, guitarist-banjoist with chart-topping group Mumford & Sons, has quit the band following controversy around his support for Unmasked, a book decrying the leftist protest movement antifa.

In March, Marshall had tweeted to the book’s author, conservative journalist Andy Ngo: “Congratulations. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” Following an online backlash, he apologised, and announced he would take time away from the group.

Marshall has now fully quit Mumford & Sons. In a blog post, he writes:

I have spent much time reflecting, reading and listening. The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme far left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant far right. The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good … For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity … 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.

He concluded: “I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.”

Mumford & Sons wrote on Twitter: “We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man.” Just not enough to jeopardise their recording contracts or accept that you have freedom of speech. 

 

 

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