The 1975 has canceled shows planned for Taiwan and Indonesia after frontman Matt Healy kissed a male bandmate on stage during a three-day music festival in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, leading the government to shut down the entire festival.
The 1975 is continuing their protest, or at least that's the way it seemed, after a same-sex kiss between frontman Matt Healy and bassist Ross MacDonald led the Malaysian government to shut down the Good Vibes Festival entirely, with the whole stunt leaving local fans frustrated with Healy and the band.
The government, under which homosexual acts are illegal, called Healy's behavior "extremely rude," per The Independent, which include the kiss as well as criticism of the government's anti-LGBTQIA+ laws. The government shut down the final two days of the festival.
During their set, Healy said he'd "made a mistake" even agreeing to appear at the festival, per Deadline. "When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it," he told the crowd. "I don’t see the f---ing point, right? I do not see the point of inviting the 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with."
"I’m sorry if that offends you, and you’re religious, and it’s part of your f---ing government," he continued. "I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f---ing mood."
He even said that the band had considered canceling their appearance, but ultimately decided to honor the gig because they didn't want to disappoint their fans. Homosexuality is punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.
"Unfortunately, you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m fucking furious," Healy added, per The AV Club. "And that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government. Cause you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive."
"It’s ridiculous, f---ing ridiculous, to tell people what they can do with that and that," he continued. "If you want to invite me here to do a show, you can f--- off. I’ll take your money. You can ban me, but I’ve done this before, and it doesn’t feel good."
The band's set was shut down shortly after, with Healy returning to the stage, per TMZ, to announce they'd been banned from Kuala Lampur and thus could not continue the show.
In a statement released overnight Friday, organizers said, "We deeply regret to announce that the remaining schedule of Good Vibes Festival 2023, planned for today and tomorrow has been cancelled following the controversial conduct and remarks made by UK artist Matty Healy from the band The 1975."
As noted by The Huffington Post, and referenced by Healy in his rant, this isn't the first time the singer has acted out in this manner to protest anti-LGBTQIA+ laws. He kissed a male fan during a show in the United Arab Emirate, to protest their government's stance.
"Unfortunately, due to current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the scheduled shows," the band said in a statement posted to the We the Fest Instagram page after the incident in Kuala Lampur.
Indonesia's laws are not as strict as Malaysia, with no national law considering homosexual acts criminal, but there are some local laws that discriminate LGBTQIA+ individuals. Taiwan, meanwhile, has no such laws at any level and has even legalized same-sex marriage.
The band has been facing criticism from the very people Healy was purporting to support with his rant and behavior.
"If anything, what Matt Healy and The 1975 have done is discount and disrupted YEARS of work by local activists who have been pushing for change and understanding AND endangering our vulnerable minority communities, said Joe Lee in a lengthy Twitter thread that went viral and was captured by NME.
"Every country has its laws," Lee continued. "Foreigners don’t get to come in and s--- on us and tell us how to do things, especially when they only make it worse for us."
Many others weighed in agreeing that the antics of Healy could actually worsen the situation for LGBTQIA+ individuals on the ground in Malaysia. "Now we were gonna have to tolerate the political s---storm that's about to happwn while they are fine getting drunk in another country," wrote one. "This wasn't their fight."
Lee echoed this sentiment as part of his thread, commenting, "We do not need white folks to come and save us." This notion of this being a "white savior" performative act by Healy is echoed in much of the online reaction, though Healy and the band do have their supporters, as well.
Healy talk all that talk but then what is it actually gonna do for US? Absolutely nothing. He gonna go home to his nice cosy house drink his expensive liquor and go to sleep thinking he did something like Olivia Wilde in that clip but now we have to fight even harder for us.
Please read this. I'm the first to say our laws are shite, cruel and must change, but what Matty Healy did was performative, selfish & straight up endangers the lives of queer Malaysians who have to deal with the fallout while he gets to jet off & forget about the whole thing. https://t.co/EOe4xDcPDc
So what I dislike about Healy's stunt is by doing that he reduced being queer to just kissing and sex when queer lives are so rich and so much more than that. Wanting queer relationships to have legal recognition is deeper and broader than getting to hold a ceremony for a day.
Matty Healy with a generational white man performance 🔥🔥
2/3 days of an event cancelled ❌❌ 4,574 jobs lost 👨🏻💼 Political agenda RISE 🤩🌟 84% of future international acts refusing to perform in malaysian 😮💨 357 showers not taken 😷💩 A whole country of fans alienated 👽 https://t.co/ccVpu7ZzJdpic.twitter.com/TDmYR2BTvu
“We should be mad at the gov, not matty healy” have u ever thought we could be mad at both: one for failing queer communities time and time again to pander towards homophobes, another for further pitting them (against their will btw) against authorities thru performative stunts
matt healy's action was another classic white savior/colonial behaviour. coming to a country, you well knew the rules were prior to coming,and shit on their rules and regulations and making life harder for lgbtq community in the country. he only did HIMSELF a favor. not others https://t.co/tNKR5J9L3R
Matt Healy is not a hero, he put everyone at GVF at risk, GVF might be banned, we generally don't get many concert here. Worse, he put the LGBTQ community in danger. If the gov decided to take actions, he will be far away in a mansion but the community will be hunted.