Winston Marshall, the banjoist from folk rock band Mumford & Sons, has exited the group after becoming embroiled in a political controversy for praising a book by right-wing journalist Andy Ngo.
In March, Marshall tweeted his thoughts on Ngo’s book, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy,” writing “Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.” The tweet was met with backlash from fans, and Marshall apologized and announced he would take some time away from Mumford & Sons “to examine my blindspots.”
On Thursday, Marshall announced he was exiting the band, which he co-founded with Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane in 2007.
“The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be,” Marshall wrote in a Medium blog post.
“I have spent much time reflecting, reading and listening,” he added. “The truth is that my commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right. The truth is that reporting on extremism at the great risk of endangering oneself is unquestionably brave. I also feel that my previous apology in a small way participates in the lie that such extremism does not exist, or worse, is a force for good.”
Mumford, Lovett and Dwane posted a photo to the band’s Instagram page, writing “We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man.”