The 1975 has cancelled upcoming shows in Taiwan and Indonesia after being officially “blacklisted” from Malaysia after frontman Matty Healy openly defied the country’s draconian anti-LGBTQ laws while headlining a musical festival in Kuala Lumpur.
“I made a mistake when we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I don’t see the f**king point, right? I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and telling us who we can have sex with,” Healy told the audience at the Good Vibes festival on Friday, as reported by People.
“And I’m sorry if that offends you and you’re religious, but your government are a bunch of f**king… and I don’t care anymore. If you push I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f**king mood. I’m not in the f**king mood anymore,” Healy continued, referencing Malaysian laws criminalizing homosexuality, which is punishable by caning and 20 years in prison.
“Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f**king 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,” he added.
“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**king ridiculous, it’s f**king ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that [points to crotch] and that [points to mouth]. And if you want to invite me here to do a show, you can f**k 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**ked off,” he concluded.
At that point, bass player Ross MacDonald, walked over and the two men kissed as the crowd cheered wildly.
The band then played one more song before Healy cut the set short, announcing they had to leave the stage because they “just got banned from Kuala Lumpur.”
The 1975 has been banned from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia after Matty Healy and bandmate Ross MacDonald kissed on-stage during their set at Good Vibes Festival.
Before the kiss, Healy gave a speech on his disappointment in the country’s discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. pic.twitter.com/XcHuPHiYr5
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 21, 2023
Malaysia’s Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil described Matty Healy’s onstage behaviour as “very rude,” reported The Associated Press, and announced that the festival — which had been scheduled to continue through the weekend — had been cancelled. Other performers set to perform included The Strokes, Dermot Kennedy and Ty Dollar $ign.
“There will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles or violates Malaysian laws,” he said in a statement, while the agency in charge of bringing foreign artists into Malaysia issued a statement decrying the band’s stunt as “an insult and disrespecting the laws of the country,” confirming The 1975 is banned from performing in the country.
Wan Alman, entertainment director at Future Sound Asia, which organized the Good Vibes Festival, told BBC News the kiss came as “a complete surprise” to him.
“Prior to their performance, we were reassured by management that they would adhere to all local performance guidelines as do all international artists that perform in the country, and yeah so we were completely surprised that the performance took such a turn,” he said, pointing out that the kiss will have lingering repercussions for his organization and those who had expected to attend the festival this weekend.
“I think it’s very easy for [Healy] to fly in and do whatever he wants to do, and then just fly out without having to face or take accountability for any consequences for his actions, while the ones who suffered implications are his fans here because his set was cut short, the festival organizers and, you know, I think the industry as a whole,” he said.
Following the uproar, organizers of We the Fest — a music festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, where The 1975 had been scheduled to perform on Sunday — shared a statement from the band announcing they were pulling out.
“The band never takes the decision to cancel a show lightly and had been eagerly looking forward to playing for fans in Jakarta and Taipei but unfortunately, due to current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the scheduled shows,” the statement read, as reported by The Guardian.
Healy made headlines in 2019 with a similar same-sex kiss while performing in Dubai, where homosexuality is also criminalized.