The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Matty Healy under fire for controversial stunt in Malaysia

Matty+Healy+performing+in+London+in+2016.+
PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW DE F FAWKES / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Matty Healy performing in London in 2016.

Matty Healy, lead singer of the indie pop rock band the 1975, has recently come under fire for actions during a performance in Malaysia last Friday.

Healy went on a rant in the middle of the band’s set, saying that he “made a mistake” when he booked the show in Malaysia, as he was unaware of the country’s strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Healy openly criticized the Malaysian government onstage, saying to any fans who may have supported the legislation “if you push, I am going to push back.” He used heavy profanity in his description of the Malaysian governing body.

Healy then kissed his male bass player, Ross McDonald, on stage. 

According to CNN, Healy likely thought of the speech and kiss as “an act of protest and solidarity.” However, Malaysian members of the LGBTQ+ community and fans of the band have said otherwise.

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    Healy’s actions resulted in his performance being cut short. The 1975’s set was the headlining act of Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival, the rest of which was canceled afterwards.

    The cancellation of the festival was a huge hit to crowds of festival goers who had paid for flights into the country and tickets to see other headliners such as The Kid Laroi and Ty Dolla $ign.

    The band went on to cancel the rest of their shows in Asia, including performances in other countries such as Indonesia and Taiwan. 

    An article from BBC News referred to Healy’s actions as a “white savior stunt,” as Malaysian LGBTQ+ rights activists and fans of the band were unimpressed with the singer’s behavior.

    “While many locals appreciated the intent, they say he crashed a precarious political environment for LGBT Malaysians and caused greater damage,” the article said.

    Homosexuality is currently punishable by fines and/or up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia. 

    While Healy has been able to leave the country and continue life as usual, LGBTQ+ activists in Malaysia have been left in fear that Healy’s actions “could be just the start of a larger clampdown” on homosexuality, CNN said.

    Healy’s social media accounts, including his recent Instagram posts, have been filled with angry comments demanding an apology.

    Musician and YouTuber David Choi commented on a post of Healy’s recent performances in Singapore, saying “it is a massive privilege to have fans who support you in Southeast Asia and what you did was extremely selfish, unprofessional, and most of all, privileged (which you clearly do not care or even realize).”

    “You turned your face away from your fans by doing this and probably made things worse for the progressives in a mostly Islamic country. Shame,” Choi said.

    Since the incident, Healy has joked about his actions on social media by reposting his name trending on Twitter and writing on Instagram that it’s “not as easy as it looks” to refrain from kissing his male bassist.

    The 1975’s next scheduled performance is at music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 4. 

     

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    About the Contributor
    Maaike Niekerk, buzz Editor
    My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working with The Daily Illini during the fall semester of my freshman year as a buzz staff writer, and joined the editorial team last summer. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini or cycling with the 2024 Illini 4000 bike America team.
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