The 1975 cancel two Asian shows after Malaysia LGBT+ controversy

Matthew Healy from The 1975 (Euan Cherry/PA)
Matthew Healy from The 1975 (Euan Cherry/PA)

The 1975 have cancelled two tour dates in Asia after a Malaysian music festival was axed over pro-LGBT+ comments made by the band’s frontman Matty Healy.

The English pop-rock group announced that performances at the We The Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday and at the Taipei Music Centre in Taiwan on Tuesday will not go ahead before their American tour kicks off next month.

Healy, 34, made a speech about homosexuality, which is illegal in Malaysia, and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald on stage at the Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Festival organisers said on Saturday the remainder of the three-day event had been cancelled following the “controversial conduct and remarks” made by Healy.

Australian singer-songwriter The Kid Laroi and American rock band The Strokes had been due to play.

A statement from the band was posted on the We The Fest Instagram page on Sunday, saying: “The 1975 regret to announce that their forthcoming shows in Jakarta and Taipei will no longer be going ahead as planned.

“The band never take the decision to cancel a show lightly and had been eagerly looking forward to playing for fans in Jakarta and Taipei but unfortunately due to the current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the current shows.”

“Thank you for your understand and continued support.”

Matty Healy kisses crowd safety worker
The 1975’s Matty Healy kisses a crowd safety worker mid-performance while singing in Denmark (Emilie Christine/PA)

The Indonesia parliament approved a ban on sex outside of marriage last year and there are laws around LGBT+ rights in the religious Aceh province.

In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to recognise same-sex marriage.

The 1975 is due to play Lollapalooza in Chicago, Waikiki Shell in Hawaii and Outside Lands in San Francisco next month before returning to the UK for Reading and Leeds Festivals.

On Friday, Healy said in footage shared on social media he was going to “pull out” of the Malaysian show as he did not “see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with”.

However, he said he decided to appear at the festival because he did not want to disappoint fans.

Healy also said: “Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f****** furious and that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.”

He was then seen walking off stage before coming back and saying: “Alright, we just got banned from Kuala Lumpur, see you later.”

Fahmi Fadzil, Malaysia’s communications minister, also criticised Healy’s comments and confirmed he had contacted festival organisers.

The Ministry of Communications and Digital said The 1975 had now been blacklisted under a body that oversees foreign artists playing in Malaysia.

The Good Vibes Festival said the decision was an “immediate cancellation directive” from the ministry.

“The ministry has underlined its unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule or contravene Malaysian laws,” organisers said.

“We sincerely apologise to all of our ticket-holders, vendors, sponsors and partners.”

A source, who is close to the band, said: “Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and the community.”

In 2019, Healy won ally of the year at the 2019 Diva Awards for supporting LGBT+ rights.

He has previously kissed a male crowd safety worker mid-performance in Denmark, along with a male fan during a show in Dubai.

In 2019, Healy wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Dubai you were so amazing. I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again.”