During their headlining set at the Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday July 21, Healy gave a speech calling out the Malaysian government for its hardline stance on gay rights.
“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,” said Healy.
He continued: “I am sorry if that offends you and you’re religious and it’s part of your fucking government, but your government are a bunch of fucking retards and I don’t care anymore. If you push, I am going to push back. I am not in the fucking mood, I’m not in the fucking mood.”
Healy later told the crowd that the night would not feature a set of their more “uplifting” material due to his frustration.
here’s the rest before the live glitched pic.twitter.com/4WyJ8vBMGo
— aphex twink (@aphexmaxim) July 21, 2023
Simplesmente Matty Healy banido de por os pés na Malásia agora também pic.twitter.com/gz3JYTy7VN
— priscila (@lacisivy) July 21, 2023
“Unfortunately, you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m fucking furious and that’s not fair on you because you’re not representative of your government,” he said. “Because you are young people and I am sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool. So I pulled the show yesterday and we had a conversation and we said ‘You know what? We can’t let these kids down because they’re not the problem’.”
He added: “But, I’ve done this before, I’ve gone to a country where, I don’t know what the fuck it is? Ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous to tell people what they can do with their that and that [points to groin and mouth] and if you want to invite me here to do a show, you can fuck off. I’ll take your money, you can ban me, but I’ve done this before and it doesn’t feel good and I’m fucked off.”
Fan-shot footage showed that after his speech, bassist Ross MacDonald walked over to him and then the two began to kiss. After their seventh song, ‘I Couldn’t Be More In Love’, Healy told the crowd that they had to go, claiming the band had “just got banned from Kuala Lumpur”. The 1975 then left the stage.
Good Vibes Festival have since shared an official statement stating that it “regret[ted]” the set was cut short due to “non-compliance with local performance guidelines”.
“Good Vibes Festival has always been dedicated to providing enjoyable music experiences, and we sincerely appreciate your continued support,” they added. “Good Vibes Festival 2023 will proceed as scheduled, and we eagerly anticipate your presence on Saturday and Sunday.”
The festival added: “To those who attended on Friday, July 21, 2023, we understand your disappointment. If you have a Friday single-day festival wristband, you will now be able to attend the festival on either Saturday or Sunday – simply present your Friday single-day wristband at the main entrance for entry. We hope to see you soon.”
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”.
This is not the first time Healy has spoken out against anti-LGBTQ laws in another country. In 2019, the singer kissed a male fan during a show in Dubai, defying strict anti-LGBTQ laws in the Arab state.
Footage of the moment showed Healy inviting the fan to hug him, before the pair shared a quick kiss. Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai and is punishable with up to 10 years in jail.
Posting on Twitter after the show, he wrote: “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.”
He added: “But who knows maybe they will let me back in let’s just wait and see.”
The 1975 are yet to issue further comment on the incident in Malaysia. The band’s Asian tour continues with a date in Jakarta on Sunday July 23 before some North American dates. They were recently drafted in as replacement headliners for Lewis Capaldi at next month’s Reading & Leeds festival in the UK, where they’ll be performing their self-titled debut album in full to celebrate its 10th anniversary.