Matty Healy defends on stage Malaysia kiss with bandmate | Ents & Arts News


Matty Healy said The 1975 was “briefly imprisoned” by Malaysian authorities after the frontman kissed his bandmate in July.

In a 10-minute speech delivered on stage at a concert in Fort Worth near Dallas, Texas, he said the kiss was “not a stunt simply meant to provoke the government” but an “ongoing part of The 1975 stage show which had been performed many times prior”.

“Unfortunately, there’s so many incredibly stupid people on the internet that I’ve just cracked. And everyone keeps telling me that you can’t talk about Malaysia, don’t talk about what happened in Malaysia, so I’m gonna talk about it at length … I am p***** off, to be frank,” he said.

He said the band “did not waltz into Malaysia” and had been invited by organisers who knew their political views.

Matt Healy kisses bass player Ross MacDonald on stage. Pic: Lila.OnTour
Matt Healy kissed bass player Ross MacDonald on stage. Pic: Lila.OnTour

Healy said if the band had left out any “routine part” of the show to “appease the Malaysian authorities’ bigoted views of LGBTQ people” it would have amounted to “a passive endorsement of those politics”.

“As liberals are so fond of saying, ‘silence causes violence, use your platform’ – so we did that. And that is where things got complicated,” he added.

The singer also told the Dallas crowd that it was “puzzling” that “lots of people, liberal people, contended that the performance was an insensitive display of hostility against the cultural customs of the Malaysian government and that the kiss was a performative gesture of allyship”.

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Healy rejected alleged criticism that the kiss was “a form of colonialism” and that The 1975 was “forcing its Western beliefs on the Eastern world”.

He said they were invited “despite the band being amateur jiu-jitsu enthusiasts, we’re not very good, and we have no power at all to enforce our will on anyone in Malaysia”.

“In fact, it was the Malaysian authorities who briefly imprisoned us.”

The 1975’s performance at July’s Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur was cut short when Healy kissed bassist Ross MacDonald while criticising the country’s anti-LGBT laws.

The 1975 win the Best Alternative/Rock Act award award during the Brit Awards 2023 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday February 11, 2023.
The 1975 win the Best Alternative/Rock Act award award during the 2023 Brit Awards with Ross MacDonald on the far right and Matty Healy on the far left

The festival was then cancelled and authorities said the group would not be allowed to perform in Malaysia again.

Two further tour dates in Asia – one in Indonesia and the other in Taiwan – were subsequently cancelled.

The band was also sued for £2m by the organisers of the festival for breaching a contract. Future Sound Asia alleges it had received a “pre-show written assurance” that their performance would adhere to all local guidelines.

During previous shows in the band’s At Their Very Best tour, Healy kissed several fans from the crowd as well as a crowd safety worker mid-performance while singing in Denmark.

He has also performed bizarre antics including completing a series of push-ups and eating a raw steak live on stage.


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