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Matty Healy hits back at hardline Malaysian officials after being banned for kissing bandmate on stage – as The 1975 cancel two more Asia tour dates

Matty Healy has hit back at hardline Malaysian officials who banned him from performing in the country after he kissed his male bandmate on stage to protest their anti-LGBT laws. 

Healy, who recently made headlines for his whirlwind romance with Taylor Swift, slammed Malaysia’s anti-gay laws in a profanity-filled speech at the Good Vibes music festival in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, before kissing bassist Ross MacDonald.

The 1975 have now cancelled two upcoming tour dates in Asia. 

The English pop-rock group announced that performances at the We The Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday and at the Taipei Music Centre in Taiwan on Tuesday will not go ahead before their American tour kicks off next month.

And today the 1975 frontman, 34, posted a series of throwback snaps with bassist MacDonald to imply a very close relationship between the two of them and poking fun at the ban.

The outspoken singer responded to the ban and the cancellation of the festival, writing: ‘Ok well why don’t you try and not make out with Ross for 20 years. Not as easy as it looks.’ 

Matty Healy has hit back at hardline Malaysian officials who banned him from performing in the country by posting a series of snaps with bandmate Ross MacDonald, who he controversially kissed on stage on Friday

Matty Healy has hit back at hardline Malaysian officials who banned him from performing in the country by posting a series of snaps with bandmate Ross MacDonald, who he controversially kissed on stage on Friday

Healy appeared to be poking fun at authorities by implying a very close relationship with his bandmate

Healy appeared to be poking fun at authorities by implying a very close relationship with his bandmate

He also shared a video of a speech by author and speaker Christopher Hitchens in the midst of the AIDS crisis, in which he said: ‘Homosexuality is not just a form of sex – it’s a form of love.’

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and laws criminalising sodomy are punishable by imprisonment. LGBTQ people in the country also face regular discrimination by authorities and rights groups have been warned of growing intolerance.

Malaysia’s anti-LGBT laws 

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and laws criminalising sodomy are punishable by imprisonment. 

LGBTQ people in the country also face regular discrimination by authorities and rights groups have been warned of growing intolerance.

In addition, Muslims could be convicted in a court under sharia law with the possibility of a judicially-sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality. 

There are no LGBT rights in the country and no laws that protect the community against discrimination and hate crimes. 

Conversation therapy is not only practiced regularly, but is promoted by high-profile figures. 

In 2023 it was ranked at the second worst country in the world for transgender rights, according to the Global Trans Rights Index.  

Matty had also appeared to edit a picture of his classic ‘Men In Black’ style hat onto a map of Malaysia to once again snub the authorities’ decision. 

He then posted a screenshot of his name trending on Twitter to Mad World by Tears For Fears. 

In the clip posted by Healy, Hitchens said: ‘The brothers and sister of our society who have succumbed to that appalling disease did not die of sex or of their sexuality. 

‘Remember, homosexuality is not just a form of sex – it’s a form of love.

‘If you can’t live with it, I will think you’re the poorer.’

The late Christopher Hitchens – the brother of Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens – was a polemical author and critic before his death from oesophageal cancer aged 62 in 2011. 

He wrote 18 books on faith, culture, politics and literature including God Is Not Great and Love, Poverty and War. 

A self-described anti-theist, Hitchens saw religion as harmful. He was a proponent of gun rights and, crucially, same-sex rights. 

Later in life, his politics were said to have moved further to the right.  

In his speech before the controversial and passionate kiss, Healy said: ‘I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.’

He added: ‘I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it.’ 

‘Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f****** furious and that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.’ 

He later abruptly ended the set, saying: ‘All right, we gotta go. We just got banned from Kuala Lumpur.’

A source close to the band told MailOnline yesterday: ‘Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and the community.’ 

He also shared a video of a speech by author and speaker Christopher Hitchens in the midst of the AIDS crisis, in which he said: 'Homosexuality is not just a form of sex - it's a form of love.'

He also shared a video of a speech by author and speaker Christopher Hitchens in the midst of the AIDS crisis, in which he said: ‘Homosexuality is not just a form of sex – it’s a form of love.’

Malaysia cancelled a music festival on Saturday after The 1975 frontman Matty Healy kissed his bandmate Ross MacDonald live on stage

Malaysia cancelled a music festival on Saturday after The 1975 frontman Matty Healy kissed his bandmate Ross MacDonald live on stage

Matty Healy slammed Malaysia's anti-gay laws in a profanity-filled speech before the controversial kiss

Matty Healy slammed Malaysia’s anti-gay laws in a profanity-filled speech before the controversial kiss

The outspoken singer responded to the ban and the cancellation of the festival

The outspoken singer responded to the ban and the cancellation of the festival

Matty appeared to snub the Malaysian authorities in a series of Instagram stories, including editing his hat onto the map of Malaysia

He also showed that his name was trending on Twitter

Matty appeared to snub the Malaysian authorities in a series of Instagram stories, including editing his hat onto the map of Malaysia and showing his name trending on Twitter

Healy posted a number of close and tender pictures with his bandmate, again showing his opposition to Malaysia's laws

Healy posted a number of close and tender pictures with his bandmate, again showing his opposition to Malaysia’s laws

He shared another selfie on Sunday with bandmate MacDonald, showing no sign of backing down amid a frosty response

He shared another selfie on Sunday with bandmate MacDonald, showing no sign of backing down amid a frosty response

The 1975 was formed in 2002 and consists of Healy, bassist MacDonald, lead guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel

The 1975 was formed in 2002 and consists of Healy, bassist MacDonald, lead guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel

The 1975, which consists of Healy, bassist MacDonald, lead guitarist Adam Hann and drummer George Daniel, have also been banned from performing in Malaysia, according to a government committee that oversees performances from foreigners.  

The on-stage protest was not a first for Healy, who kissed a male fan at a 2019 concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also has tough anti-LGBTQ laws.

Vowing swift action early Saturday, Malaysian Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil posted a news report about the kiss and called it a ‘very rude act’.

He later ordered the ‘immediate cancellation’ of the three-day festival after meeting with organisers.

‘Never touch the sensitivities of the community, especially those that are against the manners and values of the local culture,’ he said in a subsequent tweet.

In a statement also posted to Twitter, the festival confirmed the cancellation had been at the direction of the communications ministry ‘following the controversial conduct and remarks made by UK artist Matty Healy’.

‘The Ministry has underlined its unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule, or contravene Malaysian laws,’ the statement added.

Meanwhile Matty’s mother, Loose Women star Denise Welch, proudly tweeted: ‘He’s my son,’ alongside a rainbow emoji in response to the now-viral kiss video. 

The Good Vibes Festival issued a statement after the kiss storm, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the event

The Good Vibes Festival issued a statement after the kiss storm, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the event

Meanwhile Matty's mother, Loose Women star Denise Welch, proudly tweeted: 'He's my son,' alongside a rainbow emoji in response to the now-viral kiss video

Meanwhile Matty’s mother, Loose Women star Denise Welch, proudly tweeted: ‘He’s my son,’ alongside a rainbow emoji in response to the now-viral kiss video

Fans took to Twitter to express their worries that the kiss was just an example of 'performative activism'

Fans took to Twitter to express their worries that the kiss was just an example of ‘performative activism’

Matty Healy recently embarked on a whirlwind romance with Taylor Swift (pictured together in May) following her split from British actor Joe Alwyn

Matty Healy recently embarked on a whirlwind romance with Taylor Swift (pictured together in May) following her split from British actor Joe Alwyn

Friday’s incident sparked uproar on social media, including among some members of the LGBT community, who accused Healy of ‘performative activism’ and said his action was likely to expose the community to more stigma and discrimination.

‘Matt Healy undoubtedly just made it worse for queer Malaysians who actually live here, and have to face the consequences because we all know our politicians are gonna use this to further their agenda,’ Carmen Rose, a Malaysian drag queen and performer, said on Twitter.

Another Twitter user commented: ‘This is insane ’cause he can just go back to the US or UK and live comfortably, but the local queer community will now have to suffer from potential repercussions.’

A third said: ‘He just put so much harm and danger to the community he so calls “cares” about. This statement didn’t help anyone but himself and his image. 

‘You guys are so blinded by this white saviour performative activism. Please use your brains. Respect your fans. We didn’t deserve this.’

But others rushed to his defence, instead criticising the law in Malaysia for being so strict in the first place. 

Luigi Grosu said: ‘Blaming him for the cancellation of the festival is out of place. Why not blame the homophobic government of Malaysia instead? Make sure you call out the right party for once and put your personal issues aside.’

The Good Vibes festival was scheduled to run through the weekend, with US band The Strokes set to headline on Sunday and The Kid Laroi also to perform. 

In full: Matty Healy’s speech at The Good Vibes festival before controversial kiss

‘I made a mistake when we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. 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. 

‘And I’m sorry if that offends you and you’re religious, but your government are a bunch of f***ing […] and I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f***ing mood. I’m not in the f***ing mood anymore. 

‘I saw a TikTok the other day where I picked up a child that I love who’s a friend of mine’s child. And I put them down. And there was a TikTok conversation about whether my finger placement was appropriate. 

‘So what, we’re just casually accusing people of being pedophiles now, are we? For entertainment? Is that what we’re doing? No? Well it f***ing looks like it. I’m not having a go at you, it’s people filming this. It f***ing looks like it. You don’t casually insinuate that s***. 

‘I’m not in the f***ing mood anymore. 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. So I pulled the show yesterday. 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. I’ve gone to a country where it’s f***ing, I don’t know what it f***ing is – ridiculous, it’s f***ing ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that and that. 

‘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.’ 

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