(AP) — Winston Marshall
, a founding member of folk-rock band Mumford & Sons
, announced Thursday that he is leaving the band to "speak freely" about political issues.
Marshall left the band in March after sparking a social media
firestorm by tweeting support for “Unmasked,” a book
by right-wing writer-activist Andy Ngo
that attacked far-left militant groups known as antifa.
Marshall was accused of endorsing the far right on social media, but he responded on Thursday that “nothing could be further from the truth; I condemn unequivocally all political extremism
, whether of the Right or Left.”
Marshall, who plays guitar and banjo with the band, stated that his bandmates "invited me to continue with them," but he chose to leave so that he could "speak freely without them suffering the consequences."
Marshall stated, "as long as I am a member of the band, speaking my mind on the evils of political extremism could cause them trouble, which my loyalty and love for them cannot allow."
Marshall stated that he intends to pursue new creative endeavors, as well as "speak and write on a variety of issues."
Marshall co-founded Hong Kong
Link Up earlier this year, a charity
that works to integrate Hong Kongers who have moved to the United Kingdom
due to rising political repression in the semi-autonomous Chinese city state.
Mumford & Sons, who formed in London in 2007, have had enormous success with their jangly folk-rock sound, winning the Grammy
for album of the year for their 2012 release "Babel."
“We wish you all the best for the future, Win, and we love you man,” the band’s other three members — Marcus Mumford
, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane — wrote on Instagram
in response to the news