Mumford & Sons guitarist and founding member Winston Marshall has left the folk-rock group so he can speak openly about political issues without bringing "suffering" to his bandmates.
The musician announced the news Thursday in a post on Medium, explaining that his decision was based on the backlash he received after tweeting his admiration for a book that was written by the controversial right-wing American journalist Andy Ngo. Marshall was accused of endorsing the far-right but "nothing could be further from the truth," he wrote.
The outrage that Marshall's tweet sparked was not directed at just him, but his band members as well. This, he said, was "distressing" for them.
"Despite being four individuals we were, in the eyes of the public, a unity. Furthermore it’s our singer’s name on the tin. That name was being dragged through some pretty ugly accusations, as a result of my tweet," he explained. "The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much. I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue."
In March, Marshall made the decision to take a break from the band. He said he was "sincerely sorry" for the "distress brought to them and their families" in the days following his controversial tweet.
"I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue," he said. "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.'"
However, after careful consideration, Marshall decided to instead leave the band.
"I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning," he explained. "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."
Marshall added that he would be pursuing "new creative projects" while "speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be."
In response to the announcement, Mumford & Sons band members Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane, tweeted their support to Marshall.
"We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man. M, B & T," the band wrote from its official Twitter account.
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