The remainder of Malaysia’s three-day Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur has been canceled after The 1975‘s headlining performance on Friday (July 21), event organizer Future Sounds Asia said in an announcement shared with Billboard on Saturday. The decision comes after frontman Matty Healy slammed the country’s LGBTQ laws as “f–king ridiculous” before sharing a prolonged kiss with bassist Ross MacDonald.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia, and those convicted face up to 20 years behind bars.
The British band’s set was cut short after Healy, who has long been outspoken about LGBTQ rights, ranted about the country’s restrictive laws banning homosexuality. “Because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool,” he told the crowd in video circulating on social media, noting that he had pulled the show Thursday in protest before deciding not to let fans down. “But, I’ve done this before. I’ve gone to a country where it’s — I don’t know what it f–king is. Ridiculous. F–king ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that and that. If you want to invite me here to do a show, you can f–k 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–ked off.”
The set ended early shortly after Healy kissed MacDonald, with the frontman telling festivalgoers, “All right, we just got banned from Kuala Lumpur. See you later.”
“Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and community,” a source told Billboard after the set ended abruptly. In 2019, Healy defied anti-LGBTQ laws in the United Arab Emirates when he kissed a male concertgoer in Dubai. “I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again,” he tweeted after that show.
FSA’s announcement about Good Vibes noted that the festival’s cancellation was issued at 1:20 p.m. local time on Saturday by the Ministry of Communications and Digital, which does not stand for any violation or challenging of local laws.
The organizer also claimed that ahead of the show, the band’s management team “assured us that Healy and the band would adhere to local performance guidelines,” but “did not honor these assurances, despite our trust in their commitment.” FSA also said that his disrespect of Malaysian law took them by surprise, leading them to immediately pause the show. “Healy chose to utilize his performance as a platform to express his personal views, rather than delivering the quality show that his Malaysian fans were eagerly anticipating,” the group continued. “This act is deeply unfair to his fans who were looking forward to enjoying a memorable music experience.”
Billboard has reached out to The 1975 for comment.
FSA went on to say that the festival’s cancellation delivers a “catastrophic” financial blow to the organizer, but worries that the repercussions of nixing the event will cause even bigger negative impacts. Said the FSA: “We fear it will erode the confidence of music promoters and various stakeholders in the live entertainment industry across the nation and threaten the stability of our burgeoning live arts scene.”