Winston Marshall, the banjo player and lead guitarist of Mumford & Sons, has faced backlash online for a Tweet supporting controversial right-wing journalist Andy Ngo.
In the social media post, Marshall sent congratulations to Ngo, whose coverage of neo-fascist white nationalist organisations Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys has been the subject of controversy in the past.
Marshall wrote in support of Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, Ngo’s new book about Antifa (an abbreviation used to describe antifascist demonstrators).
On Twitter, Marshall shared a photo of the cover of Unmasked, alongside the words: “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.”
Though the post was quickly deleted, many fans of Mumford & Sons criticised Marshall for the endorsement.
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“A dumbfounding endorsement of fascism,” wrote one person, while another wrote: “This is so damn disappointing and really reinforces all the bad stereotypes about what it means when you hear ‘the sound of banjos.’ Supporting fascism ain’t a good look.”
“Certainly left a nasty taste in my mouth,” wrote someone else. “I’ll be listening to anybody but M&S from now on.”
In Unmasked, Ngo describes the Proud Boys as a “pro-Trump fraternity”. The Southern Poverty Law Centre and other organisations have characterised the Proud Boys as a hate group.
In 2019, Ngo was criticised after he was filmed smiling alongside members of far-right group Patriot Prayer, who later attacked patrons of a bar frequented by Antifa protesters.
The Independent has contacted representatives of Mumford & Sons for comment.
Update (1/4/21): Following publication of this article, The Independent was contacted by representatives of Andy Ngo who say that he denies supporting Patriot Prayer or Proud Boys. They also say that Mr Ngo did not overhear, and did not smile in response to overhearing, plans by others to commit any crime. In light of what has been advised, we have removed “past associations with” [neo-fascist white nationalist organisations] from the article and have replaced it with “coverage of” [neo-fascist white nationalist organisations]. Further, we accept that the original version of the article contained a significant inaccuracy. Specifically, it was alleged that Mr Ngo described the 6 January riots in Capitol Hill as a “peaceful and celebratory gathering”. We accept this allegation is false and reference to it has been removed from the article.