Winston Marshall says Mumford & Sons were targeted by “internet mobs” amid tweet controversy

Winston Marshall has claimed that Mumford & Sons were targeted by “internet mobs” amid the “Twitter storm” that led to his departure from the band.

The banjoist faced backlash back in March after tweeting praise for a book by US journalist Andy Ngo, titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy. He said the release was “important”, hailing Ngo as a “brave man” in a since-deleted post.

Marshall subsequently confirmed that he would be taking a break from the group, and announced in a statement last week (June 24) that he’d stepped down from his role for good.

“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,” he said. “My loyalty and love for them cannot permit that.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show earlier today (June 29), Marshall said that his former bandmates had been subjected to “internet mobs” while he received “a lot of very horrible negativity” over his endorsement of Ngo.

“What was sort of unpleasant about it is that they went for my bandmates, they went for my friends, and that’s not fair on them because it’s got nothing to do with them,” he explained.

Mumford & Sons
Winston Marshall performing live with Mumford & Sons; Andy Ngo at a far-right protest in Portland, 2019. CREDIT: Getty

“But in the public eye we were a unit and that’s, I suppose, what these internet mobs do. They go for all those people around you and that’s, I think, what was so troubling for me about the experience, was to see my friends getting dragged under the bus with me, which is not fair on them.”

Marshall said most of the criticism he received online was “nonsense and lies”, adding that Mumford & Sons were “so sweet and stood by me and invited me to continue”.

“They’ve been perfectly honourable throughout and I’m very grateful for that,” he continued. “I still, sort of, obviously regret that this situation even came about and, with hindsight, it was a foolish tweet to have made.”

Elsewhere in his initial departing statement, Marshall looked back on the highlights of the time he spent with the band. “From odysseys through the Scottish Islands to headlining Glastonbury, from The Betsy Trotwood to Madison Square Garden. We’ve done it all,” he said.

“What a blessing it was to be so close to such talent as those three lads. I will look back at it all with immense pride and love. However, after much reflection and consideration, I have decided it is time to move on.”

Commenting on Marshall’s departure in an Instagram post, the group said they wished him “all the best”.

Back in 2018, Mumford & Sons also responded after they faced criticism over a photo that saw several members posing with controversial academic Jordan Peterson.