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Mumford & Sons lead guitarist and banjo player Winston Marshall announced Thursday he’s leaving the multi-platinum band in order to “speak freely.”
As The Daily Wire reported, a woke online mob attacked Marshall in March, likening him to a Nazi, after he praised conservative journalist Andy Ngo for his “brave” documentation of Antifa’s political extremism and violence in the book, “Unmasked.”
At the time, the British performer apologized and seemed to back away from his commendation, saying, “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.”
But it appears after more than three months of reflection, Marshall has come to regret his disavowal, saying in a farewell letter posted to Medium, “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.”
Marshall said that while he abhors both Far Left and Far Right fanaticism, he sees “nothing wrong with being conservative.” He described his own views as “[fluttering] between ‘centrist,’ ‘liberal’ or the more honest ‘bit this, bit that,’” and added, “Being labeled erroneously just goes to show how binary political discourse has become.”
The 33-year-old Grammy winner then shared how concern for the other members of the group led him to express remorse he did not truly feel when the mob came after him. “In the mania of the moment I was desperate to protect my bandmates,” he said. “The hornets’ nest that I had unwittingly hit had unleashed a black-hearted swarm on them and their families.”
In explaining how he ultimately reached his decision to part ways, despite his bandmates inviting him to stay, Marshall quoted Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s famous essay, “Live Not By Lies,” revealing that he has read it many times since his initial cancellation. In the passage, the Russian novelist issues a clarion call to speak truth in the face of political oppression:
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 finished his letter by saying that he could not in good conscience stay silent, even for the sake of fame and fortune.
“I could remain and continue to self-censor,” he wrote, “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.”