Winston Marshall, banjo player for Mumford & Sons, has officially left the folk-rock band after drawing controversy on social media in March. "I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences," the musician says.

Marshall previously stepped away from his Mumford & Sons duties while facing backlash after tweeting support for a book by alt-right personality Andy Ngo. "Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic. I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be," Marshall writes in a post for Medium, published on Thursday (June 24).

"I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right," the artist continues. "Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived ... My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me 'fascist' was ludicrous beyond belief."

After he issued an apology for his words back in March, Marshall says he was called out by another group for apologizing. His bandmates, too, received hateful messages because of his comments, because, Marshall reasons, "[d]espite being four individuals we were, in the eyes of the public, a unity."

"The distress brought to them and their families that weekend I regret very much," Marshall adds. "I remain sincerely sorry for that. Unintentionally, I had pulled them into a divisive and totemic issue."

Nonetheless, Marshall says the rest of Mumford & Sons — Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane — did not kick him out of their quartet. In an Instagram post regarding Marshall's departure, the remaining three members of Mumford & Sons support his decision: "We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man," they write.

Marshall uses his Medium post to further explain his political views, reminisce about some of his memories with Mumford & Sons and offer more of the reasoning behind his decision to leave the band. He says he's doing so to spare his now-ex-bandmates any further trouble.

"For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that," Marshall writes. "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."

Marshall and his Mumford & Sons bandmates previously came under fire in 2018, after inviting to the recording studio Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, University of Toronto professor and YouTube personality who has been accused of misogyny, Islamophobia and transphobia.

"I don’t think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say," Marshall said at the time. "Primarily I’m interested in his psychological stuff, which I find very interesting."

Founded in London, England, in 2007, Mumford & Sons released their newest album, Delta, in 2018.

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