Oh dear. Back in March, Mumford & Sons banjoist Winston Marshall landed himself in hot water after praising a book by conservative American journalist Andy Ngo.
Following the publication of Unmasked – Ngo's recent critique of the antifa movement – Marshall tweeted his praise, declaring: 'Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man.' The subsequent backlash over Ngo's alleged status as a 'notorious right-wing agitator' forced Marshall to take 'time away from the band' culminating in today's announcement that the latter is leaving his band after 14 years.
In an emotional post, Marshall, the son of multi-millionaire Sir Paul, wrote of his long history with the band, recalling those first gigs – 'odysseys through the Scottish Islands, or soapbox shows in Soho' – in which he wondered where they would sleep at night. He went on to declare that:
“For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity … The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences.
Steerpike suspects Marshall will not be the last musician to be drummed out for failing to sing from the same hymn sheet.