Malaysia cancels music festival after Matty Healy criticized country’s anti-LGBTQ laws


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – British pop-rock band The 1975 announced on Sunday that they were canceling their performances in Jakarta and Taipei following the Malaysian government cancel a music festival after the band’s lead singer criticized the country’s anti-gay laws and kissed a male bandmate during their performance.

The 1975 was scheduled to perform at We The Fest, Indonesia’s annual summer music festival, in Jakarta on Sunday night as part of their 2023 Asian tour.

“The 1975 regrets to announce that their upcoming shows in Jakarta and Taipei will no longer go ahead as planned,” the group said in a statement shared on We The Fest social media platforms on Sunday. They added that the decision was not taken lightly, “but unfortunately the current circumstances make it impossible to proceed with the current shows.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, does not ban LGBTQ rights except in the conservative province of Aceh.

Matty Healy, the lead singer of The 1975, used swear words in his speech criticizing the government’s stance on homosexuality before kissing bassist Ross MacDonald. Footage of the incident was posted on social media, sparking a backlash in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.

Malaysian Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil criticized Matty Healy’s behavior late Friday, saying in a Facebook post that homosexuality in the country is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning.

It wasn’t the first time Healy had taken the stage to defend lesbian and gay rights. In 2019, he kissed a male fan during a concert in the United Arab Emirates, where homosexual acts are also banned, according to media reports.

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