Mumford & Sons band member Winston Marshall announces he's leaving the band to be free to talk about politics

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Mumford & Sons founding member Winston Marshall announced that he’s parting ways with the folk-rock band so that he can “speak freely” about politics.

The banjo player announced he was leaving the band by way of a lengthy post on Medium in which he talked about the viral tweet that led him to take time away from Mumford & Sons.

Marshall took a break from the band in March after sparking a social media storm by tweeting admiration for “Unmasked,” a book by right-wing writer-activist Andy Ngo that attacked far-left militant groups collectively known as antifa.

Marshall was accused online of endorsing the far right, but said Thursday that “nothing could be further from the truth. I condemn unequivocally all political extremism, be it of the Right or Left.”

Marshall, who plays guitar and banjo with the group, said he had decided to leave so that he could “speak freely without them suffering the consequences.”

He said that “as long as I am a member of the band, speaking my mind on the evils of political extremism could bring them trouble. My loyalty and love for them cannot permit that.”

Singer Winston Marshall of Mumford and Sons announced that he’s stepping away from the band in order to speak more freely about political issues.
(Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

He did, however, note that his fellow band members did not pressure him to leave.

“Emotions were high. Despite pressure to nix me they invited me to continue with the band. That took courage, particularly in the age of so called ‘cancel culture.’ I made an apology and agreed to take a temporary step back,” he wrote. 

Despite stepping away from the band to more easily talk about political issues, Marshall previously apologized for his praise of the book in a lengthy statement shared in a since-deleted tweet. 

“Over the past few days, 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 blind spots,” Marshall wrote at the time.

He added: “For now, please know that I realise [sic] how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hatred, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention.”

In his medium post, Marshall noted how his apology merely led to more backlash. 

“Rather predictably another viral mob came after me, this time for the sin of apologising,” he wrote.

Marshall said he plans to undertake new creative projects, “as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues.”

Earlier this year Marshall co-founded Hong Kong Link Up, a charity that works to integrate Hong Kongers settling in Britain because of increasing political repression in the semi-autonomous Chinese city-state.

Formed in London in 2007, Mumford & Sons have had huge success with their jangly folk-rock and won the album of the year Grammy for their 2012 record “Babel.”

“We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man,” the three other band members — Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane — wrote on Instagram in response to the announcement.

In his initial praise of the book, he congratulated Ngo for writing it. Marshall, at the time, called the book “important” and praised the conservative author.

“Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man,” Marshall wrote in the now-deleted tweet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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