Mumford & Sons’ banjo player sparks backlash after voicing support for controversial right-wing writer

Mumford & Sons’ banjo player sparks backlash after voicing support for controversial right-wing writer
Getty Images For RADIO.COM

The banjo player from Mumford & Sons has come under fire for voicing support for a controversial right-wing writer who has been accused of using misleading and inaccurate information to depict anti-fascist groups as violent extremists.

Winston Marshall shared an image on Twitter of Andy Ngo’s book Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy on Saturday afternoon, alongside a message of support for the writer.

“Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,” Marshall said.

Ngo has been accused of promoting a false equivalence between left-wing and right-wing political violence in the US, such that an article in Columbia Journalism Review in 2019 described him as a “discredited provocateur”.

Critics of the Portland-based writer have also alleged that he works with far-right groups – such as Patriot Prayer – that he purports to report on.

Meanwhile, Ngo has argued that he is a legitimate journalist and that much of the media is biased towards anti-fascist groups.

Antifa is a highly-decentralised left-wing movement which uses both nonviolent and violent direct action to challenge fascist and racist groups, such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

In response to Marshall’s tweet, some social media users pointed out that being opposed to anti-fascism puts you in a very dubious political position...

Meanwhile, the general response to Marshall’s endorsement of the book was overwhelmingly negative…

However, as one user pointed out, we did have some prior warning for this - when Mumford & Sons invited alt-right darling Jordan Peterson to meet them in 2018...

After facing criticism for that meeting, Marshall responded by suggesting that he did not necessarily agree with everything the academic had said.

The banjo player told CBC Radio:

“I primarily was very interested in Dr Peterson’s work on psychology, read both his books and found it very, very interesting, and met him [through] a mutual acquaintance and invited him down to the studio whilst he was in London on tour, which was very interesting and one of many interesting visits we had in the studio.”

He added: “I don’t think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say.”

More: Why Rihanna’s recent cultural appropriation backlash makes sense

The Conversation (0)