The 1975 frontman Matty Healy has been widely criticised by the Malaysian LGBTQ+ community for protesting the country’s stance on gay rights and kissing the band’s bassist Ross MacDonald on stage.
The band were playing at Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (July 21) when Healy decried the Malaysian government’s hardline stance against LGBTQ+ rights. Malaysian law criminalises sexual activity between people of the same sex, with its penal code criminalising “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and acts of “gross indecency”.
“I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I don’t see the fucking 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,” Healy said. Their set was cut short just two songs later.
Following Healy’s stunt, the rest of Good Vibes Festival was cancelled by authorities and the band were banned from performing in Malaysia, according to the country’s official agency responsible for approving filming and performance applications from foreign artists.
Now, many LGBTQ+ Malaysians have had their say. A Twitter thread by Joe Lee that was particularly critical of Healy went viral, with Lee suggesting Healy’s actions would make life for the LGBTQ+ community in the country worse.
“If anything, what Matt Healy and The 1975 have done is discount and disrupted YEARS of work by local activists who have been pushing for change and understanding AND endangernig our vulnerable minority communities,” Lee wrote.
He also said he agreed with Good Vibes Festival being cancelled. “Now, with more queer friendly artists performing, tell me do you think it would have been safe to have two more days of the show?” he argued.
“You know SOME parties would have made a spectacle of that, and given tensions, ANY incident would be disastrous with VERY REAL consequences.
He went on: “Every country has its laws. Foreigners don’t get to come in and shit on us and tell us how to do things, especially when they only make it worse for us.
“The real victims of this situation are 1. The Malaysian LGBTQ+ community, who are ow left to deal with the aftermath. 2. The Malaysia live concert industry which is struggling to bounce back post pandemic.”
If anything, what Matt Healy and The 1975 have done, is discount and disrupted YEARS of work by local activists who have been pushing for change and understanding AND endangering our vulnerable minority communities.
— ᴊᴏᴇ ʟᴇᴇ (@iamjoelee) July 22, 2023
Lee’s sentiments were echoed by many. Another Twitter user added: “this is singlehandedly pushing back any progress queers in malaysia could have made in the past century. this is purely performative activism and the 1975 have no idea that what they did is the worst thing that could happen to us”
this is singlehandedly pushing back any progress queers in malaysia could have made in the past century. this is purely performative activism and the 1975 have no idea that what they did is the worst thing that could happen to us https://t.co/4XEVkGUZDf
— a (@miscontres) July 21, 2023
Another queer Malaysian added: “Matty and his bandmates are all rich white men who LOSE NOTHING by doing what they did. At most? They lose listeners from Malaysia and earn a little bit less now. They have no actual notable consequences for their speech and stunt. None.
“Malaysian queers have worked HARD to try and campaign for our rights, many of them are entirely volunteer-based and completely funded by other local queers. We pour alot of blood, sweat, and tears to making sure our peers have a safespace, especially in such a hostile environment.”
I'm a Queer Malaysian. I know nothing about the 1975 nor Matty Healy, so here are my unbiased thoughts about the whole issue that happened at GVF (a thread) pic.twitter.com/Wick5SbGUd
— Fish (@MercuryJax) July 21, 2023
“As a malaysian queer, what matty healy and the 1975 did was WORSE for malaysian queers. Now we are gonna have tolerate the political shitstorm thats about to happen while they are fine getting drunk in another country. This wasn’t their fight,” another added.
As a malaysian queer, what matty healy and the 1975 did was WORSE for malaysian queers. Now we are gonna have tolerate the political shitstorm thats about to happen while they are fine getting drunk in another country. This wasn’t their fight
— Shou’s castles are NO LONGER crumbling. ⚡️ (@shoukunz13) July 21, 2023
The 1975’s shows in Indonesia and Taiwan were subsequently cancelled following the incident in Malaysia.