Malaysian Music Festival Called Off After Matty Healy Of The 1975 Criticizes Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

He kissed his bandmate on stage after a loaded speech.

The three-day-long Good Vibes Festival in Malaysia was cut short after Matty Healy, the lead singer of The 1975, criticized the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws on stage.

Matty Healy | Rolling Stone

The British band was headlining the festival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, July 21, when Healy started criticizing the Malaysian government’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights. He said that the band had made a wrong decision by performing in Malaysia.

A fan-recorded video showed Healy saying he didn’t “see the point” of the band performing in the country.

I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I don’t see the f*cking 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.

—Matty Healy

He continued, saying, “Unfortunately, you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f*cking 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.”

After this speech, he kissed his bandmate Ross MacDonald on stage as the band played “I Like America & America Likes Me.” The officials ordered them off the stage just 30 minutes into the set. While walking off, Healy said into the mic, “All right, we just got banned from Kuala Lumpur. See you later.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and is punishable by 20 years in prison. So, after this controversial incident, the government got involved and called off the rest of the Good Vibes Festival. According to the organizer’s official statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Communications and Digital ordered the event to be called off, citing its “unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule or contravene Malaysian laws.”

On the other hand, a source close to Healy told the media that the singer has a long-standing history of advocating for queer rights and that “the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and community.

Future Sound Asia, the company that organized the festival, said that despite his team reassuring the organizers that the band would abide by local performance guidelines, “Healy did not honor these assurances.”

Healy’s actions took us by complete surprise, and we halted the show as promptly as feasible following the incident…Healy’s unprofessional behaviour and overt defiance of Malaysian laws and regulations are disturbing.

—Future Sound Asia

Fahmi Fadzil, the communications minister of Malaysia, criticized The 1975 on Twitter, saying that their performance was “very disrespectful.”

This is, however, not the first time the band has gotten into such a controversy. Healy did something similar in 2019 while performing in Dubai. He invited a male fan on stage and hugged and kissed him. In the UAE, homosexuality is punishable by ten years of prison.

After that performance, the singer took to Twitter and thanked fans, saying, “I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behavior’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again.”

He took to Instagram to respond to the Malaysia incident. The singer posted Future Sound Asia’s statement on his story, jokingly adding a caption saying his bandmate Ross is irresistible.

| @trumanblack/Instagram