Mumford & Sons’ banjo player has announced he is “taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots” after facing a backlash online for praising a conservative writer.
Winston Marshall tweeted support for US journalist Andy Ngo over the weekend, but later deleted the post after criticism which saw the chart-topping band trending on social media.
The 33-year-old had described the book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy, as “important” and praised Ngo as a “brave man” – a post described by one Twitter user as a “dumbfounding endorsement of fascism”.
Critics of the book, which claims to expose a “violent extremist movement”, say it inflates the size and threat of the left-wing antifa movement, which was a frequent target of Donald Trump.
Now, Marshall has released a statement apologising, saying he had offended “a lot of people”, including his bandmates.
“As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots,” he said.
Marshall, son of British investor Sir Paul Marshall, said he realised his “endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour”.
He added: “I apologise, as this was not at all my intention.”
Released earlier in 2021, Ngo says of Unmasked on his Twitter page: “Read the book that #antifa wants banned.”
The Los Angeles Times describes the book as “supremely dishonest”.
Ngo has drawn attention to antifa – short for “anti-fascists” – for years. In 2019, he said he was targeted and suffered brain injuries when he was assaulted while covering protests in Portland.
Mumford & Sons, formed in 2007, are Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Ted Dwane and Marshall, and are best known for hits including I Will Wait and Little Lion Man.
Sky News has contacted representatives for the band for comment.