Mumford & Sons star Winston Marshall is leaving the band after facing a recent Twitter backlash over his political opinions.
The banjo player, who has been part of the Little Lion Man hitmakers since their formation in 2007, apologised back in March after praising right-wing U.S. journalist Andy Ngo and his book Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy.
At the time, he issued a statement that read: “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.”
Marshall subsequently revealed he would be “taking time away” from the group to reflect on his “blindspots”, adding, “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.”
However, it appears the storm of controversy has since prompted the musician to quit Mumford & Sons altogether.
Announcing the news on the Medium blog on Thursday, Marshall admitted it hadn’t been an easy decision to make.
After recalling how much fun he had touring with the band, he added: “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.”
Marshall went on to praise his bandmates Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane, for standing by him and inviting the artist to “continue with them”.
“Considering the pressure, that took courage,” he remarked, before explaining his decision to leave the line-up.
“I’ve spent much time since reflecting, reading and listening,” he continued. “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.
“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.”
The remaining members of Mumford & Sons have since taken to social media to offer their best wishes to Marshall.
Alongside a group photo, the stars wrote, “We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man. M, B & T.”