The 1975 face demand for compensationAugust 8, 2023
The 1975 face demand for compensation as promoters of cancelled Malaysian music festival take legal action after lead singer Matty Healy defied country’s strict anti-gay laws
- Homosexuality is illegal in the country and is punishable by imprisonment
- He previously kissed a male fan at a 2019 concert in the United Arab Emirates
The 1975 are facing legal action after condemning Malaysia’s anti-gay laws while performing at the Good Vibes festival in Kuala Lumpur.
Lead singer Matty Healy sparked outrage by slamming the country’s stance on homosexuality before kissing bandmate Ross MacDonald on stage – resulting in the music festival’s complete shutdown.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and laws criminalising sodomy are punishable by imprisonment. LGBTQ people in the country also face regular discrimination by authorities and rights groups have been warned of growing intolerance.
Promoters Future Sound Asia (FSA), are now taking legal action against the Manchester based four-piece, with a request to accept liability for the event’s collapse and pay compensation for damages incurred as a result of the incident.
According to FSA, the outspoken Healy “tarnished” the reputation of Good Vibes and “intentionally contravened the agreement [the band] had with FSA”.
Controversy: The 1975 are facing legal action after condemning Malaysia’s anti-gay laws while performing at the Good Vibes festival in Kuala Lumpur
Forbidden: Lead singer Matty Healy sparked outrage by slamming the country’s stance on homosexuality before kissing bandmate Ross MacDonald on stage
Swigging from a bottle of wine, Healy told fans the band had thought of pulling out of the event, saying: ‘I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.’
He added: ‘I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I’m sorry if that offends you and you’re religious… but your government are a bunch of f****** r******.
‘I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f****** mood. I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool. I pulled this show yesterday, and we had a conversation.
‘We said, “You know what? We can’t let the kids down because they’re not the government.”
‘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.’
He continued: ‘Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f****** furious and that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.’
He later abruptly ended the set, saying: ‘All right, we gotta go. We just got banned from Kuala Lumpur.’
The rest of The 1975’s Asia Tour, which included stops at Jakarta, Indonesia’s We the Fest, and a show in Taipei, Taiwan, were also pulled.
Speaking out: Healy slammed Malaysia’s anti-gay laws in a profanity-filled speech before the controversial kiss
Malaysia’s anti-LGBT laws
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and laws criminalising sodomy are punishable by imprisonment.
LGBTQ people in the country also face regular discrimination by authorities and rights groups have been warned of growing intolerance.
In addition, Muslims could be convicted in a court under sharia law with the possibility of a judicially-sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality.
There are no LGBT rights in the country and no laws that protect the community against discrimination and hate crimes.
Conversation therapy is not only practiced regularly, but is promoted by high-profile figures.
In 2023 it was ranked at the second worst country in the world for transgender rights, according to the Global Trans Rights Index.
A source close to the band told MailOnline: ‘Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and the community.’
The 1975, which consists of Healy, bassist MacDonald, lead guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel, have also been banned from performing in Malaysia, according to a government committee that oversees performances from foreigners.
The on-stage protest was not a first for Healy, who kissed a male fan at a 2019 concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also has tough anti-LGBTQ laws.
Vowing swift action, Malaysian Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil posted a news report about the kiss and called it a ‘very rude act’.
He later ordered the ‘immediate cancellation’ of the three-day festival after meeting with organisers.
‘Never touch the sensitivities of the community, especially those that are against the manners and values of the local culture,’ he said in a subsequent tweet.
In a statement also posted to Twitter, the festival confirmed the cancellation had been at the direction of the communications ministry ‘following the controversial conduct and remarks made by UK artist Matty Healy’.
‘The Ministry has underlined its unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule, or contravene Malaysian laws,’ the statement added.
Healy later took to Instagram to respond to the statement, arguing: ‘Ok well why don’t you try and not make out with Ross for 20 years. Not as easy as it looks.’
He then teased an imminent comeback for Sunday, writing ‘Good morning guys. Returning 23/7.’
Meanwhile Healy’s mother, Loose Women star Denise Welch, proudly tweeted: ‘He’s my son,’ alongside a rainbow emoji in response to the now-viral kiss video.
Friday’s incident sparked uproar on social media, including among some members of the LGBT community, who accused Healy of ‘performative activism’ and said his action was likely to expose the community to more stigma and discrimination.
Finished: The Good Vibes Festival issued a statement after the kiss storm, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the event
Response: Healy posted the statement to his Instagram, alongside a comment saying ‘why don’t you try and not make out with Ross for 20 years’
Cryptic: The 1975 frontman also hinted at an imminent comeback following the incident
Booted out: The 1975, which consists of Healy (centre right), bassist MacDonald (left), lead guitarist Adam Hann (right) and drummer George Daniel, have also been banned from performing in Malaysia
Unhappy: Malaysian Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil condemned the kiss and called it a ‘very rude act’. He then cancelled the rest of the three-day festival
Old flame: Healy recently embarked on a whirlwind romance with Taylor Swift (pictured together in May) following her split from British actor Joe Alwyn
Claims: The American superstar was thought to have reconnected with The 1975 star Matty while both continue working their way through respective world tours
‘Matt Healy undoubtedly just made it worse for queer Malaysians who actually live here, and have to face the consequences because we all know our politicians are gonna use this to further their agenda,’ Carmen Rose, a Malaysian drag queen and performer, said on Twitter.
Another Twitter user commented: ‘This is insane ’cause he can just go back to the US or UK and live comfortably, but the local queer community will now have to suffer from potential repercussions.’
A third said: ‘He just put so much harm and danger to the community he so calls “cares” about. This statement didn’t help anyone but himself and his image.
‘You guys are so blinded by this white saviour performative activism. Please use your brains. Respect your fans. We didn’t deserve this.’
But others rushed to his defence, instead criticising the law in Malaysia for being so strict in the first place.
Luigi Grosu said: ‘Blaming him for the cancellation of the festival is out of place. Why not blame the homophobic government of Malaysia instead? Make sure you call out the right party for once and put your personal issues aside.’
The 1975 are on Sunday due to play at a festival in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, where a recent LGBT event was cancelled amid security threats.
The Jakarta festival’s organisers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether the band would play.
The uproar comes at a politically sensitive time in multi-ethnic Malaysia where Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s progressive coalition government will face its first major test of public support in August, when six states hold elections.
An alliance of opposition parties, largely representing the majority ethnic Malay community, has accused the government of not doing enough to protect the rights of Muslims.
The premier has said his government would uphold principles of Islam and will not recognise LGBT rights.
The romance between Healy and Swift was first revealed in May following her split from British actor Joe Alwyn.
The music superstars have known each other for years following their first meeting in 2014 and have appeared on stage together multiple times.
The pair were last seen together on May 25 in New York but in June a friend close to the singer confirmed that she was single again.
Support: Meanwhile Healy’s mother, Loose Women star Denise Welch, proudly tweeted: ‘He’s my son,’ alongside a rainbow emoji in response to the now-viral kiss video
Getting involved: Fans took to Twitter to express their worries that the kiss was just an example of ‘performative activism’
He’s got form: Healy has been known to protest on stage before (pictured at the Brit awards in 2019)
Cancelled: The Kid Laroi and The Strokes were due to headline the remaining two days of the festival in Kuala Lumpur
A source told People: ‘She had fun with him, but it was always casual. They are no longer romantically involved.’
Matty had been seen publicly supporting the singer on her The Eras Tour, shooting the star loving glances as he attended her Nashville concerts with stars including supermodel Gigi Hadid.
Festival organiser Future Sound Asia apologised for the cancellation of the show following Healy’s ‘controversial conduct and remarks’. It said The 1975’s management had promised the band would obey performance guidelines.
‘Regrettably, Healy did not honour these assurances,’ it said in a statement.
FSA also expressed concern that the incident could ‘erode the confidence of music promoters and various stakeholders … and threaten the stability of our burgeoning live arts scene’.
The Good Vibes festival was scheduled to run through the weekend, with US band The Strokes set to headline on Sunday and The Kid Laroi also to perform.
The episode comes two months after authorities seized over a hundred rainbow-coloured, Pride-themed watches from Swiss watchmaker Swatch.
The company has since sued the government, seeking damages while demanding a return of the watches.
In full: Matty Healy’s speech at The Good Vibes festival before controversial kiss
‘I made a mistake when we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. 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.
‘And I’m sorry if that offends you and you’re religious, but your government are a bunch of f***ing […] and I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f***ing mood. I’m not in the f***ing mood anymore.
‘I saw a TikTok the other day where I picked up a child that I love who’s a friend of mine’s child. And I put them down. And there was a TikTok conversation about whether my finger placement was appropriate.
‘So what, we’re just casually accusing people of being pedophiles now, are we? For entertainment? Is that what we’re doing? No? Well it f***ing looks like it. I’m not having a go at you, it’s people filming this. It f***ing looks like it. You don’t casually insinuate that s***.
‘I’m not in the f***ing mood anymore. Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f***ing furious. And that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government.
‘Because you’re young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool. So I pulled the show yesterday. I pulled this show yesterday and we had a conversation, we said “you know what, we can’t let the kids down because they’re not the government”.
‘But I’ve done this before. I’ve gone to a country where it’s f***ing, I don’t know what it f***ing is – ridiculous, it’s f***ing ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that and that.
‘And 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. And I’m f***ed off.’
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