Musician Winston Marshall says he has no regrets leaving the folk rock band Mumford & Sons and the exhilarating experiences that came with it in order to speak more freely about taboo topics.
Back on the road after two years since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Marshall, who co-founded and played banjo for Mumford & Sons, chatted with Fox News Digital ahead of a gig in New York City’s SoHo at an event sponsored by The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR). FAIR is described as a “non-profit, non-partisan, pro-human organization.” Having only performed a few times in the past few years, Marshall jokingly pleaded that expectations would be kept “low.”
“I’m thrilled to be back,” Marshall said. “I’ve been playing songs that I’ve written over the last few years, but playing alone with a guitar. And enjoying it very much. Crowds have been very attentive, listening. It’s nice to play the songs stripped back and let the lyrics and melody do the work. It feels great.”
Marshall fell victim to cancel culture last year after tweeting his support for a book by conservative author Andy Ngo that exposed the left wing radicalism of Antifa, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”
At the time Marshall called the book “important” and praised Ngo. He expanded on Tuesday, saying that anyone who cares about Black lives should be dismayed by the violence that erupted in the riots that ensued following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“My hill I ended up dying on, which I didn’t think it would be, was far left extremism in the United States,” Marshall recalled. “If you care about Black lives, as the supporters of Black Lives Matter purport to do, do you not care that all those Black businesses were destroyed during the riots? Do you not care that 19 people were killed in the first 14 days of the riots? That’s serious stuff.”
“And that’s not to say that one doesn’t care about transgenders or one doesn’t care about Black people,” he continued. “Of course we care. But we’ve got to look at the whole picture, otherwise we’re not helping anyone. So, people should care about these issues. I certainly do.”
While Marshall initially apologized following backlash to his tweet about Ngo’s book, he later penned a blog post signaling his decision to leave Mumford & Sons and speak more freely about topics close to his heart.
“No point in having regrets,” he told Fox News Digital. “One needs to move forward and look forward in life. Things are what they are, and I’m enjoying the work I’m now doing very much.”
Marshall has taken full advantage of his newfound freedom. As host of “Marshall Matters,” a podcast on The Spectator, the musician has found a platform to dig into some hot topics, some of which he said he was surprised to find he was so passionate about.
Marshall had just wrapped a conversation with “Apocalypse Never” author Michael Shellenberger for his latest episode on the rise of climate alarmism, shining a light on the art that’s been vandalized across Europe by climate protesters.
“Basically exploring all the taboo topics of the age,” Marshall said of his show. “Environmentalism is one. The trans issue is one. Israel-Palestine, antisemitism is one. Black Lives Matter is one. There’s a bunch of topics that a lot of people find difficult to talk about and are self-censoring about because they are sacred, I think, in some ways.”
“And so I’ve loved now going into that now that I’m liberated I guess,” he added. “I should use my voice. It’s stupid not to.”
Marshall said his next dream podcast guests would be Masih Alinejad, an Iranian American journalist, author, and women’s rights activist, to talk about the Iran revolution, and the American comedian Shane Gillis.
“I’ve found out who my real friends were, which is actually a wonderful thing in the long run,” Marshall said as he reflected on last year. “It’s painful, going through the experience, but in the long run it’s wonderful. And I’ve also… gained many new friends. And I’m so grateful for that. It’s been fantastic. Not even necessarily like-minded people, just people with whom it’s OK to disagree. That’s incredible.”
In too many circles, he said, it’s a “progressive fault to not accept people with diverse opinions.”
“We’ve forgotten the core Christian value that we are all fallen, and we are all fallible,” he continued.
Marshall said he noticed a “common fallacy” among both progressives and conservatives that “the world is separated into goodies and baddies” – a belief that he called “bulls—.”
“We are all capable of good, and we are all capable of bad,” he said. “If we get over that, then we’ll get toward sanity.”
Marshall explained why teamed up with FAIR, saying he hopes it can be the civil liberties group that the ACLU and the SPLC “are failing to be.”
“I hope that they can be a group that stands proudly against racism without having any divisive philosophy behind it, as I think many of the other anti-racist groups have,” he said. “One based on the principles, liberal principles of individualism… I mean that we should not be divided into identity groups and America suddenly needs that.”
Marshall also shared his passion about his work with Hong Kong Link Up, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2021 which aims to connect British residents with Hong Kongers arriving in the United Kingdom.
“So when Hong Kongers came over, they were paired with local Brits wherever they wanted to settle, who then assisted them in settling and finding their feet in any country,” he said. “And it’s been wonderful. And now we’ve pivoted. And the Hong Kongers who have arrived are now hoping Ukrainians who are coming over.”
He called his work with the group “quite special.”
Marshall didn’t forget his musical roots, giving his fans a teaser for some new tunes he’s been writing that he expects to release next year.
“One never knows, he said. “With music, they kind of go all different ways. But I’ve been in the studio writing songs, and I’ve been collaborating with some very interesting people. So I hope that they will evolve into something presentable.”