Malaysia cancels music festival after The 1975 singer kisses another man

A music festival in Malaysia has been canceled after British band The 1975 lead singer Matty Healy criticized the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws and kissed a bandmate onstage.

The incident on Friday night on the stage of the Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur led the country’s Ministry of Communications to cancel the rest of the event, which is scheduled to last three days.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and are punishable by fines and up to 20 years in prison.

In an expletive-laden speech during the band’s performance, captured in video shared widely on social media, Healy said: “I don’t see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then being told who we can have sex with.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t give you a bunch of upbeat songs because I’m really mad. And that’s not fair to you, because you don’t represent the government. You are young and I am sure many of you are gay and progressive,” he said addressing the audience. Healy added that the band considered canceling the show, but he decided against it so as not to disappoint fans.

“If you want to invite me here to do a show, you can go to the f… I’ll take your money, you can ban me, but I’ve done this before and it doesn’t feel right,” Healy says in the video before bassist Ross MacDonald approaches him and kisses him onstage.

Following the incident, Good Vibes Festival said: “We are deeply sorry to announce that the remaining Good Vibes Festival 2023 schedule, planned for today and tomorrow, has been canceled following controversial conduct and comments made by British recording artist Matty Healy of The 1975.”

“This decision adheres to the immediate cancellation directive issued at 1:20 pm [local time], July 22, 2023, by the Ministry of Communications and Digital. The Ministry has underlined its unwavering stance against any party that defies, ridicules or contravenes Malaysian laws,” the festival statement added. “We sincerely apologize to the ticketing public, vendors, sponsors and partners.”

CNN has reached out to the Malaysian Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office for comment.

Healy’s actions sparked controversy online, with some fans complaining that the band’s actions could result in a further crackdown on artistic expression in Malaysia in the future.

Members of the Malaysian LGBTQ community have also criticized Healy’s actions. Some called them “performative” and warned that they could lead to further discrimination.

It’s not the first time the 1975 frontman has sparked controversy: Healy drew criticism earlier this year for giving what looked like a Nazi salute onstage during a song called “Love it If We Made It,” whose lyrics criticize Kanye West.

In 2019, Healy kissed a male fan during a concert in Dubai, in defiance of the region’s anti-LGBT laws.

After that moment, Healy posted on Twitter: “Thank you Dubai, you were amazing. I don’t think we’ll be allowed back because of my ‘behavior’, but I know I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently if given the chance again.”


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