News and Commentary

‘A Swarm Of Snakes’: Mumford & Sons Guitarist Rips Leftists Who Attacked Him For Praising Anti-Antifa Book
Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons performs during the Okeechobee Music Festival at Sunshine Grove on March 08, 2020 in Okeechobee, Florida.
Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage via Getty Images

“Mumford & Sons” banjo player and lead guitarist Winston Marshall, who announced in late June he was leaving the band after the brouhaha that erupted after he tweeted praise for a book targeting the Antifa movement, spoke of those those attacked him from the Left, stating that they were “like a swarm of snakes. They come for every aspect of your life.”

Marshall told Bari Weiss on her podcast “Honestly” that the moment he published an essay delineating the history of his odyssey and his decision to leave the band in order for him to keep on speaking truthfully, he felt that he got his “integrity back and I feel like I got my soul back a little bit. Sorry, not a little bit. I feel like I got my soul back, completely. I feel good now.”

Back in March, Marshall tweeted approval of conservative journalist Andy Ngo’s best-selling “Unmasked,” an expose of the Antifa movement, writing. “Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.”

When swarms of leftists attacked him for his tweet, Marshall initially offered an apology, but after examining the issue more fully later, realized that he agreed with Ngo on how fascistic far-Left behavior is.

Marshall told Weiss:

At the time I tweeted about a book that documents the far-Left behavior in the U.S., which, considering I live in London, is a particularly niche topic in my world. I’m not sure … it’s so niche in your country. And I’d been tweeting about books through the pandemic. … This one seemed to take off. There’s a couple of ways to what happens. So firstly, it starts to take off, and then you have, like a swarm of snakes. They come for every aspect of your life. So for example, for me, they started messing about with my Wikipedia page calling me a Fascist and Nazi and all these ridiculous things, and then, there’s sort of a second wave, where they come for your friends and your associates and their families, and it’s very intimidating.

And when they start going for your friends and people you love, that’s where it sort of changes. It’s a very effective mode of intimidation, because it’s one thing when they come for you, but when they come for those you love, you want to defend them. I imagine it’s very confusing for those people, particularly if they don’t know what’s gong on, what’s inspired this sort of attack or whatever.

Referring to the initial apology he had offered after the blowback to his tweet, he explained that he was trying to protect those he loved while trying to more thoroughly examine the issue. He continued, “You put your friends first. You F***ed up. And I think I did f*** up because now, clearly it’s a … divisive issue, and I think a lot of people (look) at it in low depth, and they don’t understand the far-left extremism that’s going on. They might think, ‘Why would you criticize it?’ or ‘Fascism’s bad, and so Antifa must be good,’ rather than seeing the fascistic behavior of far-Left groups.”

“How nervous were you to hit publish on this essay?” Weiss asked.

“Bloody terrified,” Marshall answered. “Yeah, particularly the last half an hour before I was very nervous, but I feel like it’s gone. I feel like I got my integrity back and I feel like I got my soul back a little bit. Sorry, not a little bit — I feel like I got my soul back, completely. I feel good now.”

When Marshall announced his departure from the band, he wrote:

I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived. She and I were close. My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me “fascist” was ludicrous beyond belief.

He quoted legendary author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “And he who is not sufficiently courageous to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a distinguished figure or a general. Let him say to himself: I am a part of the herd and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and kept warm.

Marshall wrote,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. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning. 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.”