LONDON — Mumford & Sons banjoist Winston Marshall says he’s “taking time away from the band” after praising a right-wing author known for his coverage of anti-fascist groups.
In a now-deleted tweet, Marshall congratulated conservative writer Andy Ngo on his book “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.” The musician wrote he “finally had the time to read your important book” and called Ngo “a brave man.”
According to a review in the Los Angeles Times, the book downplays the murders of Trayvon Martin and Heather Heyer, calls the Proud Boys a “pro-Trump fraternity,” and argues that Antifa’s predecessors in Weimar Germany deserve as much scrutiny as their Nazi counterparts.
Marshall was quickly criticized for his support of Ngo and on Tuesday, he deleted all of his tweets except for one, which included a statement announcing he’s taking a break from the band.
“Over the past few days, I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed,” wrote Marshall. “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 blind spots.”
He concluded the statement by apologizing for his actions.
“For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior,” he wrote. “I apologize, as this was not at all my intention.”
After Marshall released his statement, some conservative figures criticized him for apologizing. Glenn Beck responded to the tweet, saying, “Sad. Who will have the guts to say, it is okay to disagree with me, even vehemently, but it is not okay to bully people into compliance. In America, we all have to live together. What is the lefts plan when 40% of the country won’t play their game?”
Ngo himself seemed to respond as well, tweeting Wednesday, “I grieve for those who are made to suffer because they dare to read my work, or talk to me.”
Mumford & Sons has not yet publicly commented on Marshall’s departure.