Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall will be "taking time away from the band" after coming under fire for supporting a book by right-wing writer Andy Ngo.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, March 10, the banjoist and lead guitarist said he would step back from his musical career "to examine my blindspots."
"Over the past few days I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed," Marshall wrote. "I have offended not only a lot of people I don't know, but also those closes to me, including my bandmates and for that I am truly sorry."
He acknowledged "how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hatred, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention." Marshall shared the same statement to his Instagram page.
In the controversial since-deleted tweet, the 33-year-old endorsed Ngo's book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. "Congratulations @MrAndyNgo," Marshall wrote on Saturday, March 6. "Finally had to time read your important book. You're a brave man," he added alongside a photo of the book.
Ngo wrote his book after he was "attacked by antifa" at a 2019 Portland demonstration, which resulted in a collision between law enforcers, "antifa" protesters and right-wing groups. Antifa – short for "anti-fascist" – is the name of a loosely affiliated, left-wing, anti-racist political movement that monitors and tracks the activities of local neo-Nazis.
The group has no unified structure or national leadership but emerged in the form of autonomous groups of people nationwide, particularly on the West Coast.
This is not the first time Mumford & Sons' bandmates were slammed for their political views. Marshall and bandmates Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane faced backlash years prior when a photo surfaced of some members posing with Jordan B. Peterson, a controversial Canadian psychologist who has been criticized for his taking transphobic, misogynistic and Islamaphobic stances.
"I don't think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say," Marshall told CBC following the backlash in 2018. "Because then I wouldn't be able to have a photograph of anyone at risk of trying to offend anyone. I don't see the harm in engaging in conversation."