Mumford and Sons' Winston Marshall quits band to 'speak freely' on politics
24 June 2021, 15:52 | Updated: 24 June 2021, 16:56
The guitarist has released an official statement explaining why he has made the decision to permanently leave the band.
Winston Marshall has announced he is leaving Mumford & Sons, saying his departure was a "difficult decision first brought about by an unintentional Twitter storm".
The banjoist and lead guitarist caused controversy earlier this year after tweeting about US journalist Andy Ngo's book titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy.
After taking some time away from the band, the 33-year-old musician has now confirmed his official departure from the outfit, whose other members include Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane.
In a statement entitled Why I'm Leaving Mumford & Sons, he said: "What a blessing it was to be so close to such talent as those three lads. I will look back at it all with immense pride and love. However, after much reflection and consideration, I have decided it is time to move on.
"This is a difficult decision first brought about by an unintentional Twitter storm."
See his post below:
“Why I’m Leaving Mumford & Sons” by Winston Marshallhttps://t.co/JUraN3IDr3— Winston Marshall (@MrWinMarshall) June 24, 2021
Explaining the events which surrounded his tweet, he said: "The book documents the recent activities of the extreme Left in the US. The tweet was misconstrued by many as an endorsement of the equally abhorrent Far-Right. Nothing could be further from the truth. I condemn unequivocally all political extremism, be it of the Right or Left."
He continued: "At the time of the incident emotions were high and despite the furore, the band invited me to continue with them. Considering the pressure, that took courage.
"I've spent much time since reflecting, reading and listening. I know now 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.
"However to remain in the band and self-censor will gnaw my conscience, erode my integrity. By leaving I hope to speak freely without them suffering the consequences."
Marshall, who is the son of wealthy British investor Sir Paul Marshall, said he was looking forward to "new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues".
He added that he would continue to work on a project he co-founded in January this year, called Hong Kong Link Up, a non-profit organisation which "aims to link up British residents with Hong Kongers arriving in the UK".
The I Will Wait rocker concluded: "The band has been the ride of a lifetime. I leave with love in my heart and I wish them nothing but the best. To the band, colleagues, partners, crew, everyone who ever came to a show and everyone that supported the band, I thank you."
The news follows an announcement which Marshall made earlier this year in which he revealed he was stepping away from the band to "examine (his) blindspots".
He said: "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 blindspots.
"For now, please know that I realise how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour. I apologise, as this was not at all my intention."
Mumford & Sons first formed formed in London in 2007 and have gone on to release four studio albums; Sigh No More (2009), Babel (2012), Wider Mind (2015) and Delta (2018), and I Will Wait and Little Lion Man are among some of their best-known singles.
Florida's Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival in March 2020 will have been the band's last performance with Marshall in the line-up.