- It may have been banned from Malaysia in 1975 after a kiss between bands violated anti-gay laws.
- Before the kiss, Healy criticized the government for its restrictions on LGBTQ+ communities.
- The band’s performance ended shortly after the kiss, long before their hour was up.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, may have been banned in 1975, after frontman Matty Healy kissed bandmate Ross MacDonald during a performance in protest of Malaysia’s discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
The incident happened at the Good Vibes Festival, a three-day festival featuring numerous performers at Kuala Lumpur’s Sepang International Circuit.
Friday’s performance was headlined by The 1975, but the weekend includes other big artists like Daniel Caesar, The Strokes, The Kid Laroi, and Ty Dola $ign.
Before Healy and MacDonald kissed, Healy spoke at length about the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies, criticizing the government: “I made a mistake when we were booking shows. I wasn’t looking into it,” Healy said to a mix of applause and sounds of disappointment. “I don’t see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.”
The two colleagues then shared a long kiss, which has since been uploaded multiple videos to Twitter.
“Okay, we have to go, we’re banned from Kuala Lumpur,” Healy said after a brief interlude before leaving the stage.
It’s been a long time since Healy’s first stage stunt, and the singer is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year, in January, he appeared to perform a Nazi salute shortly after calling Irish people “simpletons” at a concert in Dublin, according to reports from The Independent.
In May, Healy came under fire for a podcast interview when he said he masturbated to porn of “brutalized” women and made disparaging comments about Asian people.
Concertgoers described the event as “wild” and Healy as “erratic.”
“He cursed the government for telling him he can’t attract a dick in Malaysia, then he kissed his bassist. The kiss went on for a long time. People were happy, but the cameras cut shortly after,” said Bernice Lim, a Singaporean music fan who was at the Good Vibes Festival, told Insider. “I do not know much about him, and I think he is a colorful character, but it is wild that I saw the 1975 ban in Malaysia right before my eyes.”
Joseph Tan, another attendee at the Good Vibes Festival, told Insider that the crowd seemed to be mixed in their opinion of Healy’s “erratic” statement – with some “cheering” and others “looking uncomfortable”.
“I think they probably left the country,” Tan said. “But they might have been caught if they stayed in the country. It’s Malaysia.”
Malaysia still widely restricts the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including funding gender and sexuality conversion therapy, according to Human Rights Watch World Report 2022. Federal law punishes sex that violates the “order of nature” by up to 20 years in prison and whipping, while state and federal Islamic laws criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity, the report says. At one point in 2019, the country’s tourism minister said there were no gay people in Malaysia.
According to reports from The Straits Timesthe festival issued a short statement aimed at festival attendees.
“We regret that the performance of ‘1975’ had to be cut short due to non-compliance with local performance guidelines,” the statement read.
Malaysian Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, tweeted after the event expressing his displeasure at the situation.
“This was a very barbaric act,” reads the translated tweet. “I have called the organizer to explain tomorrow and I will be contacting the authorities for a full report.”