Former Mumford & Sons member Winston Marshall wrote an article for Bari Weiss’ Substack criticizing artists taking action against Spotify.
In the essay titled “When Artists Become Censors,” Marshall takes aim at those he believes threaten free speech, including Neil Young, who recently removed his music from Spotify.
On January 24, Young posted an open letter — which has since been deleted — expressing his feelings about content like the Joe Rogan Experience podcast “spreading misinformation about vaccines”. It sparked a wider protest, with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Crazy Horse member Nils Lofgren following suit.
“Something akin to bottom-up authoritarianism has become the norm,” Marshall writes in the test. “Or maybe we could talk about side censorship. These are artists who stop other artists or who try to do so.
Winston Marshall goes on to note, “Spotify is a private company; they have no obligation to platform anyone. So while this campaign does not violate Rogan’s First Amendment rights, it is a clear stance against the cultural norm of free speech.
When artists start self-censoring, who can be surprised that self-censorship becomes the norm?
— Winston Marshall (@MrWinMarshall) February 3, 2022
Marshall’s argument then turns to those he believes are being unfairly criticized for their opinions: “Those who are brave enough to peek over the parapet – think Kanye on Trump or JK Rowling on the trans debate – are being violently attacked.”
Criticizing left-wing artists throughout the debate and the supposed censorship of those on the other side of the debate, he concludes the essay by commenting: “Perhaps a return to Soviet-style censorship is in right way. But this time backed by artists in favor of orthodox establishment thinking.
The banjo player and guitarist quit the band last summer after controversy sparked a since-deleted tweet in which he praised right-wing writer Andy Ngo.
After announcing his departure from Mumford & Sons, the musician said in a BBC Radio 4 interview that his former bandmates had been targeted by “crowds on the internet”, while he himself had received “a lot of very negativity”. awful” on his tweet.
In the published essay, Marshall writes of the situation, “I could have stayed in the band. But that would have meant self-censorship. Or lie. So I left.”
In other news, Spotify reportedly removed 70 episodes from The Joe Rogan Experience who see the comedian using racial slurs.
After the clips surfaced, Rogan took to Instagram to apologize. “There’s been a lot of bullshit in past episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn’t said, or said differently. This is my take on the worst,” he wrote in the caption of the 6-minute video.
“I would never offend anyone for entertainment over something as stupid as racism. On the contrary, it can be a teachable moment for anyone who doesn’t realize how offensive that word can be in the mouth of a white person. My sincere apologies, it makes me sick just watching this video.