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Rock Band ‘The 1975’ banned from Malaysia after criticism of anti-LGBT laws and an on-stage kiss between members Matty Healy and Ross MacDonald

The incident happened while the band was performing at the Good Vibes Festival in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur on Friday, July 21.

The English pop rock band ‘The 1975’ was banned from continuing its performance at a Malaysian music festival on Friday (July 21) night when vocalist Matty Healy kissed a male bandmate onstage and denounced the nation’s anti-LGBTQ policies. Malaysia is a Muslim-dominated conservative country where homosexuality is considered a crime and punishable by 20 years in jail.

The incident happened while the band was performing at the Good Vibes Festival in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur on Friday, July 21.

Before kissing bassist Ross MacDonald, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Matty Healy made a protracted attack on the nation’s anti-LGBT policies during the performance, as can be viewed in a fan-shot video shared on Twitter by user @aphexmaxim.

“I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it,” Healy told the crowd Friday at the Good Vibes Festival. “I don’t see the f***ing 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.

“I’m sorry if that offends you, and you’re religious, ”he said, adding that he believes the Malaysian government is in the wrong. I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f****ing mood.”

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

Healy went on to say that the British band had initially decided not to perform their Thursday headline festival slot.

“I pulled this show yesterday and we had a conversation, we said, ‘You know what, we can’t let the kids down because they’re not the government.’ But I’ve done this before,” he said, referring to a 2019 incident in Dubai.

“I’ve gone to a country where it’s f***ing ridiculous, it’s f***ing ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that (points to crotch) and that (points to mouth). And if you want to invite me here to do a show, you can f*** 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 f***ed off,” he ended the monologue.

Ross MacDonald, the band’s 34-year-old bassist, then approached Healy and gave him a long kiss as their 2018 song “I Like America & America Likes Me” played. After finishing the song, they performed another before Healy said that the group had to leave since they had “just gotten banned from Kuala Lumpur.” The English pop band then left the stage.

After the show was cut short, the organisers, Good Vibes Festival, issued an official statement stating that it regretted that 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.”

Malaysia is home to 32 million people and ethnic Malay Muslims make up more than 60% of the population. It has a dual-track legal system, with Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims running alongside civil laws. Though constitutionally Malaysia is defined as a secular state, the laws of the country are extremely Islamic in nature.

Last year, a woman in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was charged with ‘insulting Islam’ by allegedly “acting indecently” while performing at a comedy club. The woman was accused of committing the offence of ‘insulting Islam’ by stripping to show herself in a short dress at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail comedy club. 

Similarly, Malaysian writer Uthaya Sankar was arrested over a Facebook post that allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad. In his post, Sankar had allegedly written about the issue of polygamy and the Prophet Muhammad, which was alleged to be insulting to Islam. 

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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