British folk-rocker Winston Marshall announced Thursday he‘s leaving Mumford & Sons after his praise of conservative journalist Andy Ngo sparked a left-wing backlash more than three months ago.
Mr. Marshall stepped into hot water in March after he praised Mr. Ngo for his new book, tweeting: “Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.”
“Thank you so much,” responded Mr. Ngo, author of “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy,” an Amazon bestseller that is critical of the Antifa movement.
The brief exchange received an onslaught of criticism from fans and fellow musicians, and Mr. Marshall later apologized and deleted the tweet. On March 10, he announced he was “taking time away from the band” to examine his “blind spots.”
In a Medium post Thursday morning, Mr. Marshall said he was leaving the band for good because he can’t “continue to self-censor” in order to protect the band.
“For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble,” he wrote. “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,” he continued. “I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best.”
Mr. Marshall revealed that 13 members of his family died in the Holocaust and that the left trying to paint him as a “fascist” couldn’t be further from the truth. He also doubled down on his praise of Mr. Ngo.
“I have spent much time reflecting, reading and listening,” he wrote. “The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right. 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.”
Mr. Ngo retweeted Mr. Marshall‘s post on Twitter.