In 1975 their performance at a festival in Malaysia was cut short after headliner Matty Healy criticized the country’s government for its LGBTQ+ laws and kissed the band’s bassist on stage.
During his headline performance at Kuala Lumpur’s Good Vibes Festival on Friday 21 July, Healy gave a speech criticizing the Malaysian government for its hardline stance on gay rights.
“I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I didn’t look at that. I don’t see the fucking point, okay, I don’t see the point of inviting 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,” said Healy.
He continued: “I’m sorry if that bothers you and you’re religious and part of your fucking government, but your government is a bunch of fucking retards and I don’t care anymore.
Healy later told the audience that a set of his more “elevated” material would not be part of the night due to his frustrations.
“Unfortunately, you won’t have a concert full of uplifting songs because I’m fucking mad and that’s not fair to you because you’re not representative of your government,” he said, “because you’re young and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool. So yesterday I pulled the show and we had a conversation and we said ‘You know what people we can’t’.
And he said to him: “But, I’ve done this before, I was in a country that I don’t know what the hell it is…”. Ridiculous. It’s fucking ridiculous to tell people what you can do with it and that [señala la ingle y la boca] and if you want to invite me to do a show, you can fuck 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 going to quit.”
Images taken by fans showed that bassist Ross MacDonald, after his speech, approached him and the two started kissing. After the seventh song, “I Couldn’t Be More In Love”, Healy told the crowd they had to go, claiming the group had “just been sent from Kuala Lumpur”. The 1975 left the stage.
Since then, Good Vibes Festival released an official statement of “regret” that the performance was cut short due to “failure to comply with local performance regulations.”
“The Good Vibes Festival has always been committed to providing enjoyable musical experiences, and we sincerely appreciate your continued support,” they said. “Good Vibes Festival 2023 will take place as scheduled, and we look forward to your presence on Saturday and Sunday.”
The festival added: “For those who attended on Friday 21 July 2023, we understand your disappointment. If you have a Friday wristband, you will be able to attend the festival on Saturday or Sunday, just present your Friday wristband at the main entrance. We look forward to seeing you soon.”
Malaysian law criminalises same-sex sexual activity, and its penal code criminalises “unnatural carnal intercourse” and acts of “gross indecency”.
This is not the first time Healy has spoken out in another country against anti-LGBTQ laws. In 2019, the singer kissed a male fan during a show in Dubai, violating the Arab state’s strict anti-LGBTQ laws.
Footage of the moment shows Healy inviting fans to hug him, before the pair share a quick kiss. Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
After the show, he tweeted: “Thank you Dubai, you were amazing. I don’t think they’ll let us back because of my ‘behaviour’ but I know I love you and wouldn’t have done anything different if given another chance.”
And he said: “But who knows, maybe they will tell me to come back, let’s wait and see.”
1975 has yet to comment on the Malaysian incident. The band’s Asian tour continues with a date in Jakarta on Sunday, July 23 before a number of dates in North America. They were recently chosen to headline Lewis Capaldi at the UK’s Reading & Leeds festival next month, where they will perform their self-titled debut album in full to celebrate their 10th anniversary.