The 1975 face legal action after controversial Malaysian performance

7 August 2023, 15:46 | Updated: 7 August 2023, 16:03

The 1975 face legal action over controversial Malaysia performance
The 1975 face legal action over controversial Malaysia performance. Picture: Alamy/social media

By StephenRigley

The organisers of a festival in Malaysia cancelled after a controversial performance by The 1975 have threatened the group with legal action.

Organisers behind Good Vibes Festival has sent the band a warning letter demanding compensation after last month's event was cancelled when the band's singer Matt Healy attacked the country's anti-LGBT laws.

During the band's headline performance, Healy addressed the audience in a profanity-laden speech before kissing a fellow band member.

Malaysia's communications ministry ordered the cancelation of the event as part of its "unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule or contravene Malaysian laws".

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and punishable by 20 years in prison - Healy's performance was also attacked by members of the country's LGBT community as an act of "performative activism" that would make their lives harder.

In a statement, event organisers Future Sound Asia said it had issued the band with a Letter of Claim - a final warning - demanding they acknowledge their liability and compensate the organisers for damages incurred and any failure to do so will result in legal proceedings being pursued in English courts.

FSA said it strongly disapproved of the band's conduct, in particular Healy's "use of abusive language, equipment damage, and indecent stage behaviour".

It said the band had "intentionally contravened" the agreement it had with organisers, leading to the festival's cancellation and resulting in "significant financial losses" for FSA, as well as negatively impacting local artists and businesses reliant on the festival.

Matt Healy on stage in Malaysia before the incident
Matt Healy on stage in Malaysia before the incident. Picture: social media
Healy with bandmate Ross MacDonald
Healy with bandmate Ross MacDonald. Picture: social media

Read More: The 1975 cancel Indonesia and Taiwan shows after LGBT controversy

Read More: Festival cancelled after 1975's Matty Healy kisses band member and makes speech about Malaysia's LGBT ban

On 21 July, Healy told the crowd: “I don’t see the f*****g point of inviting the 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with. Unfortunately, you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f*****g 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 then kissed bass player Ross MacDonald. Healy was drinking alcohol on stage and also broke a drone operated by the festival promoters. Thirty minutes later, seven songs into their set, the band were sent off as Healy told the audience: “All right, we just got banned from Kuala Lumpur, see you later.”

The band later cancelled performances in Indonesia and Taiwan.

Healy has subsequently mocked the kiss incident. Muse performed in Malaysia the weekend after the incident and confirmed that they would remove a song with a potentially offensive title from their set: on Instagram, Healy subsequently shared a screenshot of Muse asking fans to “join the resistance” which he captioned “Sick”, followed by a screenshot of a news story about the setlist change captioned “….oh”.

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