A member of the UK folk rock band Mumford & Sons is likely wishing he'd stuck to plucking and strumming after an online post earned him a record scratch over the weekend. On Saturday, Winston Marshall, the band's guitarist and banjo player, put up a tweet praising Andy Ngo, a polarizing conservative journalist who has a new book out: Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. "Congratulations @MrAndyNgo," Marshall's tweet read, per Yahoo Entertainment. "Finally had the time to read your important book. You're a brave man." The tweet on its own seems fairly innocuous, except that author Ngo has become a controversial figure who many think doesn't deserve the praise Marshall is throwing his way.
Entertainment Weekly details some of Ngo's eyebrow-raising antics, including his known associations with far-right groups like the Proud Boys; his minimizing of Heather Heyer's death at the hands of white nationalists, as well as that of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman; and his apparent penchant for disseminating selectively edited videos to push misinformation. The Hollywood Reporter notes Marshall's tweet received instant backlash, including calls for the band to get rid of him. "Your banjo player is a fascist. What do you think this is going to do to [your] public image? You guys screwed up. Fire the fascist," one infuriated commenter noted. Marshall has since deleted his tweet. The musician and his band have been at the center of similar controversy before: In 2018, they invited Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor who's been accused of Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ views, to their London studio, where they posed for pics with him. (Read more Mumford & Sons stories.)