Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall Quits Band After Book Controversy

Three months after Winston Marshall announced he was "taking time away from the band," the banjo player has made the decision to leave the group permanently.

By Elyse Dupre Jun 24, 2021 7:33 PMTags
Watch: Mumford & Sons' Banjoist Taking Time Off After Controversy

UPDATE: Winston Marshall is officially leaving Mumford & Sons.

The musician announced the news in a message posted to Medium on June 24. The move comes about three months after Marshall received backlash for praising Andy Ngo, the conservative writer who penned Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, in a tweet.

"Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic," Marshall recalled. "I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be." 

Looking back, Marshall remembered receiving "tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments." And while the band consisted of four members, the banjo player noted it's singer Marcus Mumford's "name on the tin."

"That name was being dragged through some pretty ugly accusations, as a result of my tweet," he continued. "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."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

While the group's members invited him to stay, Marshall announced in March that he was temporarily "taking time away from the band," apologizing for offending "not only a lot of people I don't know, but also those closest to me."

In his recent Medium message, Mashall wrote that "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." As for his decision to permanently leave the band, he expressed his hope that 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," he added. "I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future."


Winston Marshall is taking a break from Mumford & Sons.

The 33-year-old musician tweeted the announcement on Tuesday, March 9. The news comes after Marshall received backlash for praising Andy Ngo, the conservative writer of the book Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy

"Over the past few days, I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed," Marshall said in a statement. "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 realize how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hate, divisive behavior. I apologize, as this was not at all my intention."

Marshall did not specify how long he'd be away from the band.

David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the banjo and guitar player took to Twitter earlier in the week to praise the author. "Finally had the time to read your important book," he reportedly wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "You're a brave man."

Soon, Marshall received criticism for the endorsement. "So much for me going to any of your concerts ever," one social media user tweeted. "..#bye."

Added another Twitter user, "Glad I didn't get that lyric tattoo. Incredibly disappointed in you."

In a review of the book for The Los Angeles TimesAlexander Nazaryan wrote Ngo downplays the killings of Heather Heyer and Trayvon Martin. Nazaryan also wrote Ngo called the Proud Boys, which has been defined as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,  a "pro-Trump fraternity."

This is not the first time a member of Mumford & Sons has come under fire. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the group also received backlash after they invited Jordan Peterson, who has been accused of transphobia and misogyny, to their studio in London in 2018.

"I don't think that having a photograph with someone means you agree with everything they say." Marshall told q's Tom Power during a CBC Radio interview. "Primarily I'm interested in his psychological stuff, which I find very interesting."

(This story was originally published March 10, 2021 at 9:22 a.m. PST).