One of Britain's most successful contemporary rock bands, Mumford & Sons, has been under fire since May for taking a photo with best-selling author and psychology professor Jordan Peterson, and now they're finally addressing it.
Instead of backing off from their convictions, however, the band's lead guitarist, Winston Marshall, is speaking out and dismissing the outrage that was directed at the band for the photo, which Peterson shared on Instagram.
The photo went somewhat viral in August, with many of the band's fans coming forward to criticize their choice of company.
What are the details?
In a Thursday interview with CBC Radio’s Tom Power, Marshall admitted that he'd invited the quasi-cultural messiah to the band's London studio because he was interested in the professor's intriguing and compelling work on psychology.
“I primarily was very interested in Dr. Peterson’s work on psychology, read both his books and found it very, very interesting, and met him [through] a mutual acquaintance and invited him down to the studio whilst he was in London on tour, which was very interesting and one of many interesting visits [from various figures] we had in the studio,” Marshall explained.
Power went on to ask Marshall whether he believed Mumford & Sons were at risk of alienating fans who were opposed to Peterson's work.
"I don't think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say. So I don't, really," Marshall responded. "Because then I wouldn't be able to have a photograph of anyone at risk of trying to offend anyone so I think I don't see the harm in engaging in conversation. And as I said earlier, primarily I'm interested in his psychological stuff, which I find very interesting."
Power later outright asked Marshall — again — if the band was concerned that they might lose some of their following as a result of being affiliated with Peterson.
Marshall — again — responded in the negative, and instead, had something far more positive to bring to the table than musing over whether an innocuous photograph with a celebrated author and psychologist would rile up the fan base.
"No," he said. "I mean, I think it's because we want to be a uniting force. And I think, we think, the world needs that right now. And the divisive side of things is something that we find tiring and a shame that it's such a dominant part of the discourse right now. And if there is any opportunity to unite, we think that's what we were excited about."
What was so offensive about this photo?
See the below photo, which Peterson captioned, "With Mumford and Sons at their London Studio."