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Mumford & Sons member takes ‘time away’ from band after praising Andy Ngo book

Mumford & Sons members sit on a couch with a guitar.
Winston Marshall, second from left, is taking “time away” from Mumford & Sons, which also includes, from left, Ted Dwane, Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett.
(Big Hassle)

Winston Marshall, the banjo player for Mumford & Sons, says he’s “taking time away from the band” to examine his “blindspots” after praising right-wing writer Andy Ngo for his recent book, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”

“Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,” Marshall tweeted Saturday.

The post, which has since been deleted, included a photo of the book’s cover showing an endorsement from Fox News personality Tucker Carlson.

A pile-on ensued, with many people calling Marshall things like “a literal Nazi.” It all prompted him to tweet out an apologetic statement Tuesday evening (which launched a second flood of people bagging on him for “caving to the mob”).

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

In its review of “Unmasked,” The Times described Ngo’s work — released in early February — as a “supremely dishonest new book on the left-wing anti-fascist movement known as antifa.”

“‘Unmasked’ is a culmination of Ngo’s single-minded quest to depict an assortment of leftists as a unified vanguard whose mission is to ‘destroy the nation-state, America in particular,’” reviewer Alexander Nazaryan wrote.

“Only in its final pages does he explain the roots of that fixation, his parents’ immigration from war-torn Vietnam. He calls this book ‘a letter of gratitude to the nation that welcomed’ them. As an immigrant from a communist country, I understand the sentiment. As a journalist, however, I must point out that he is churning out the very kind propaganda that keeps authoritarians in power.”

Some conservative writers expressed dismay over the musician’s decision to step away.

“The Mumford and Sons guy really apologized and left the band because he read a book,” tweeted Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire. “Whenever I think we have reached the farthest depths of insanity, and the cowardice that enables that insanity, we find still deeper depths to plunge.”


On Wednesday, Ngo offered thoughts that alluded to the Mumford musician’s situation.

“Unmasked” is a work of right-wing propaganda wearing the mask of journalism. After the Jan. 6 riots, it must be vigorously debunked.

“I grieve for those who are made to suffer because they dare to read my work, or talk to me,” he tweeted.

The outrage hasn’t gone too far beyond social media, however. As of Wednesday, Ngo’s “Unmasked” was still available for purchase on Amazon. Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., decided to ban the title from its shelves but not from its online store in January after protesters showed up outside its flagship shop.


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