Douglas Andrews / March 11, 2021

A Tale of Two Cancellations

Two public figures got canceled this week, but one of them was the beneficiary of a class act that all of us can learn from.

It’s a sickening sight, watching journalist Andy Ngo get pummeled by a pack of antifa animals in Portland. Not quite as sickening, though, as listening to yet another public figure beg for forgiveness after being called out by the cancel crowd.

The latest to so supplicate himself is Winston Marshall, 33, who plays banjo and lead guitar for Mumford & Sons, a British folk-rock band perhaps most famous for “I Will Wait,” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2013.

Marshall’s transgression? He had the nerve to express support for a newly released book by the aforementioned Andy Ngo titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. In a since-deleted tweet addressed to Ngo, Marshall said, simply, “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” That was the extent of his transgression.

And then, as Matt Walsh writes, “Fans, the media, and fellow musicians came out swinging, labeling Marshall a racist, calling for him to be fired, and so on and so forth. They made it clear that there is essentially no difference between reading and enjoying a book critical of Antifa and pledging allegiance to Hitler after reading Mein Kampf.”

By Tuesday, Marshall’s publicists had determined just what his apology should sound like.

“Over the past few days,” he groveled, “I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed. I have offended not only a lot of people I don’t know, but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that I am truly sorry. As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots. For now, please know that I realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention.”

Got that? Andy Ngo, the gay guy who got set upon and given a brain hemorrhage by antifa, the guy whose Vietnamese parents were boat people fleeing the communist nation in the late ‘70s, is the “hateful” and “divisive” one. He’s got TWO “intersectionality” points, and he’s still persona non grata.

As Walsh continued, “To hint at even the mildest disagreement with the most radical fringes of the far Left is to profess far Right views, which is to be a bigot, which is to reveal yourself unworthy of inclusion in civilized society. This is the formula, clear and simple and totally insane.”

Far less insane, and far more hopeful as a way out of this Kafkaesque cancel culture, was the lifeline thrown to NBAer Meyers Leonard, who dropped an anti-Semitic slur amid a stream of obscenities while he was playing the “Call of Duty” video game on a public platform called Twitch.

Leonard, who will remain away from his Miami Heat teammates indefinitely, apologized in an Instagram post: “I am deeply sorry,” he said, “for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday. While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.”

But whereas even some of Leonard’s teammates were quick to throw him under the bus, one man, New England Patriots receiver and one-time Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, took a different approach, tweeting out an open letter that began, “So we’ve never met, I hope we can one day soon.” It went on, “I get the sense that you didn’t use that word out of hate, more out of ignorance.” It ends with, “I’m down in Miami fairly often. Let’s do a Shabbat dinner with some friends. I’ll show you a fun time.”

Julian Edelman. What a mensch. Grace and forgiveness. What an idea.

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