Meghan McCain and Sara Haines of The View defended the ex-Mumford & Sons guitarist Winston Marshall after he faced backlash from the political left for praising journalist Andy Ngo's bestselling book about Antifa.
Marshall had praised Ngo's book, and been the subject of an online mobbing as a result. After some time to think about it, Marshall again spoke out, left the band, and issued a statement in favor of standing up for one's self and saying what you believe.
McCain defended Marshall, as well as Ngo, and disagreed with View co-host Joy Behar's labelling of Ngo as "far-right." McCain, a staunch free speech advocate, applauded Ngo for reporting on Antifa's violent activities in Portland during the summer of 2020.
"[Marshall's] saying just because you're calling out hypocrisy on the left, doesn't make you a right-wing extremist as well," McCain said.
When asked if Marshall's argument, that he had to exit because he's "bringing the band down," is legitimate, Haines responded: "He wants to be able to speak freely about his thoughts and beliefs. It would be compromising his integrity to shut up about it." Haines noted that Marshall's initial tweet was "benign" compared to how the malignant smear campaign has been defaming the musician's words.
"Being labeled erroneously just goes to show how binary political discourse has become. I had criticised the 'Left,' so I must be the 'Right,' or so their logic goes," Haines quoted Marshall's reflection on the character attack.
Haines remarked that any innocent comment nowadays can become fodder for the divisive cancel culture war. "We're not going to get close to each other if we continue to wield this and weaponize it," Haines said of the political division.
"This guy didn't write the book. He tweeted about the book. And now are we going to decide that anyone who poses for a picture with Winston Marshall from Mumford & Sons should also not be followed or anything else? Where does it end?" asked Haines, adding: "I think it's very disheartening."
Following the segment's airing, Ngo thanked both McCain and Haines for the television duo's "principled defense" of Marshall on-air.
The View co-host Sunny Hostin sided with Behar and countered Haines and McCain's assessment, insisting that Ngo is not "a tried and true, well-respected journalist" and that Marshall's original tweet was not "innocuous."
"If you do tweet out support and he did do that [...] well that must say something about his ideology. And if he is a representative of this band, that could, I think, lead to many people feeling some kind of way about the band and about his position in the band," Hostin replied to Behar.
Television personality Ana Navarro, another one of The View's lineup, expressed shock that the British band is waging "internal fights" over American politics.
"I think it's about how much the fight and the conflict between populism and progressives has permeated not just America, but everywhere," Navarro said. "People has taken positions on this everywhere around the world."
Behar concluded: "We're in the same boat. It's an international problem at this moment in time. We're in a weird state in the world."
Marshall lauded The Post Millennial editor-at-large Ngo after reading the New York Times bestseller Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. After endorsing Ngo's work, the bearded banjo player of the British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons was mobbed by Antifa sympathizers on Twitter.
Seeking to distance himself from Mumford & Sons so he could speak freely without the other band members "suffering the consequences," Marshall announced on Thursday that he would be walking away from both the band and the rock star life.
Marshall reflected on the fallout that stemmed from his support of Ngo, and issued an eloquent explanation of the events, decrying "cancel culture" in the public statement on Medium.