The 1975 appeared at Good Vibes festival in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 21st July. It was the band’s second-ever performance in Malaysia and is likely to be their last after front person Matty Healy initiated an onstage kiss with bass player Ross MacDonald and voiced his disgust with the Malaysian government’s anti-LGBTQ+ stance.
Healy’s actions caused The 1975’s performance to be cut short and the remainder of the Good Vibes festival to be abandoned. The festival organisers, Future Sound Asia, said the cancellation order came from Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Digital, which stated its “unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule or contravene Malaysian laws”.
The 1975’s Matty Healy: “I’m fucking furious”
On Sunday, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that Puspal – Malaysia’s Central Agency for Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes – had blacklisted The 1975 from performing in the country.
“I made a mistake,” said Healy, a few songs into the band’s performance. “When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it.” He continued, “I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.” He called the Malaysian government “a bunch of fucking retards” and explained that he was “fucked off.”
There are no laws protecting LGBTQ+ people in Malaysia, and according to a 2015 report from Human Rights Watch, discrimination against LGBTQ+ people “is pervasive”. Homosexual acts in Malaysia are punishable by 20 years in prison.
“I’m fucking furious,” said Healy. “And that’s not fair on you,” he said, gesturing towards the crowd, “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 and cool.”
After describing laws that intervene in people’s sex lives as “fucking ridiculous,” Healy and McDonald engaged in a passionate kiss, which was displayed on the big screens surrounding the stage. The band performed two more songs before Healy told the crowd they’d been “banned from Kuala Lumpur” and the show came to an abrupt end.
Following the fallout from Kuala Lumpur, The 1975 have cancelled forthcoming shows in Indonesia and Taiwan. Jakarta festival We the Fest shared a statement on behalf of the band via Instagram. “The 1975 regret to announce that their forthcoming shows in Jakarta and Taipei will no longer be going ahead as planned,” it said.
The statement explained that the band had not taken the decision lightly, but “due to current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the scheduled shows.”