Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall says he ‘lost a lot of friends’ after Andy Ngo tweet led to departure from band

‘I was surprised at how other artists condemned me,’ said musician

Ellie Harrison
Monday 09 May 2022 09:35
Mumford & Sons play Reading Festival 2015

Former Mumford & Sons banjoist Winston Marshall has reflected on the 2021 controversy that prompted him to quit the band after 14 years.

The musician left the folk-rock group following a backlash he received in March last year, when he tweeted his admiration for a book by controversial right-wing American journalist Andy Ngo.

At the time, Marshall said that while he had experienced abuse as a figure in the public eye before, this was “another level”, and was also affecting his friends and bandmates.

Electronic punk duo Sleaford Mods called him a “c***” who supports fascism, while comedian Nish Kumar labelled him a “Nazi”.

In a new interview in The Sunday Times Magazine, Marshall said that while he received private support during the Twitter storm, including from some world-famous artists, many people were quick to speak out against him in public.

“I was surprised at how other artists condemned me,” he told the publication. “I lost a lot of friends.”

He added that those who railed against him might not remember doing so. “I’ve met a few other people who have been cancelled, whatever that means, and they talk about a couple of years later people who were part of the mobbing get in touch and say, ‘Hey mate, are you around?’” said Marshall.

“They helped destroy your life, but it was done so casually they don’t even remember.”

In the same interview, he talked about how his Mumford & Sons bandmates – Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane and Ben Lovett – “were getting dragged under the bus with me, that was a horrible experience for them”.

Mumford and Sons performing live

He was apparently cagey on the question of whether he and the band are still in touch, saying: “I really wish them the best, I really want them to succeed and have a great career. I have nothing but good wishes for them personally and in business.”

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Marshall also talked about the impact of leaving the band on his life, saying: “I got my soul back. I felt I could sleep again, it’s amazing the effect that had on me. It has been completely liberating. I feel like it was the right decision.”

Social media was divided over Marshall’s decision to quit the band. Many people praised him for his “integrity” at the time and said his decision to leave the band was “heartbreaking”.

Others poked fun at the band, joking that it was a feat to be considered too right-wing in a group that has been mocked over the years for its Conservative-leaning politics.

In 2018, Marshall and fellow band members Lovett and Dwayne were photographed in the recording studio with Conservative YouTube personality and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson.

Marshall co-founded Mumford & Sons in 2007. The original band released four albums together, including their 2009 debut Sigh No More, and 2012’s Babel, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

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