Mumford & Sons’ lead guitarist, Winston Marshall, has quit the band following backlash to a tweet in support of a right-wing author.
Marshall has blamed his “difficult decision” on an “unintentional Twitter storm”.
The banjoist and lead guitarist found himself in controversy on the social media platform after tweeting about US journalist Andy Ngo’s book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.
Here’s everything you need to know about Winston Marshall and what he tweeted.
What did Winston Marshall tweet?
Winston Marshall, who has over 17,000 followers on Twitter, tweeted that he read the “important” book by Andy Ngo. He went on to praise the journalist as a “brave man”.
The tweet is now deleted.
The post quickly attracted criticism, and saw the band trending on social media. One Twitter user described the tweet as a “dumbfounding endorsement of fascism”.
Critics of the book, which claims to expose a “violent extremist movement”, say it inflates the size of the threat posed by the left-wing movement.
Following the incident, Marshall released a statement apologising, saying he had offended “a lot of people”, including his bandmates.
He announced he would be “taking time away from the band” to examine his blindspots.
Marshall added that he realised his “endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour".
Why has Winston Marshall quit Mumford & Sons?
Winston Marshall had blamed his decision to leave Mumford & Sons on an “unintentional Twitter storm”.
In a blog post shared on his Twitter page, titled ‘Why I’m leaving Mumford & Sons’, the musician said being in the band had been “exhilarating”, describing how he had been a “lucky boy”.
Speaking about leaving the band he said: “Who in their right mind would willingly walk away from this?
"It turns out I would. And as you might imagine, it's been no easy decision."
Marshall said he believed his tweet about Ngo’s book was “innocuous” - but within 24 hours it was trending with “tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments.”
"I've had plenty of abuse over the years. I'm a banjo player after all. But this was another level."
Explaining his tweet about Ngo's book, Marshall insisted: "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."
"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."