The 1975 Confirm They Were 'Briefly Imprisoned' In Malaysia

11 October 2023 | 9:21 am | Mary Varvaris

"It should be expected that if you invite dozens of Western performers into your country, they’ll bring their Western values with them..."

The 1975 live in Perth

The 1975 live in Perth (Source: Supplied)

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The 1975 singer Matty Healy has addressed a controversy from earlier this year for the first time since the event occurred. He claimed that he and the band were “briefly imprisoned” in Malaysia after kissing his bandmate, Ross MacDonald, on stage. Pitchfork has contacted representatives for The 1975 for comment.

In July, The 1975’s set at Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur was cut short after Healy launched a furious tirade against the Malaysian government and kissed MacDonald on stage, directly breaking the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

“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 onstage before the kiss.

The remainder of the three-day festival was cancelled due to Healy’s actions. In addition to a bummer ending for the festival, the Malaysian government vowed to tighten entry requirements for international artists.

In August, festival promoter Future Sound Asia pursued a claim against the band, seeking liability and compensation for damages, namely the cancelled two days of the festival from The 1975.

Addressing the audience in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday (9 October), Healy said, while reading from his phone, “If you truly believe that artists have a responsibility to uphold their liberal virtues by using their massive platforms, then those artists should be judged by the danger and inconvenience that they face for doing so, not by the rewards they receive for parroting consensus.”

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What fans may have expected to be a quick chat onstage became a heated 10-minute speech before launching into Love It If We Made It.

Healy continued, “Those who took to Twitter to voice their outrage over the 1975’s unwillingness to cater to Malaysian customs would find it abhorrent if the 1975 were to acquiesce to, let’s say, Mississippi’s perspective on abortion or trans rights.

“The 1975 did not waltz into Malaysia unannounced,” he said. “They were invited to headline a festival by a government who had full knowledge of the band with its well-publicised political views and its routine stage show.”

In the speech you can watch below, Healy continued, “It should be expected that if you invite dozens of Western performers into your country, they’ll bring their Western values with them.

“If the very same things which made you aware of them could land them in jail in your country, you’re not actually inviting them to perform. You’re indirectly commanding them to reflect your country’s policies by omission.”

In February 2024, when The 1975 headline The O2 arena in London, they’ll road-test a world-first: carbon-removed gigs. In March 2024, the band will finally take a long-awaited “indefinite hiatus” from touring after performing over 150 shows from November 2022 into next year.