The 1975 played the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and their controversial lead singer Matty Healy knows his listeners have not forgotten about his divisive commentary. Healy finally paused the show to address the numerous groups he made offensive statements about in recent months.
The singer began by saying that he feels it is “important to take inventory of yourself when you feel like your actions and your intentions do not align.” He apologized to “those he hurt”, and then launched into a seemingly intentionally humorous advertisement for BetterHelp, a website that connects patients with therapists.
Matty Healygate 2023
Matty Healy has always been a polarizing figure in the indie rock scene, but his controversial creative and personal decisions came into the public eye like never before amid his previously rumored relationship with acclaimed singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
The controversies began when Healy was a guest on “The Adam Frieland Show”, making a number of what many felt were racially motivated jabs at rapper Ice Spice and also mocked the accents of Hawaiian, Inuit, and Chinese people. In the episode, he also asked the show’s hosts to do an impression of Japanese people working in an internment camp with him. Later in the same episode, Healy accused Harry Styles of queer baiting. Styles has publicly chosen not to label his sexuality.
Healy’s current tour run, “Still At Their Very Best”, incorporates a live performance intended to start a conversation surrounding toxic masculinity. This in mind, many found Healy’s comments on Styles to show the truly performative nature of his activism.
matty healy, how are you getting on stage every night and mocking toxic masculinity and then going on a podcast and undoing the whole thing by being wildly ignorant, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, everything else under the sun. disgraceful behaviour actually
— lauren (@moonchildwren) February 10, 2023
Shortly afterwards, Healy publicly apologized to Ice Spice, who he called “a chubby Chinese woman with one song.” Spice recently confirmed to Variety that Healy has since apologized to her in private as well.
loved every minute of this
After Swift’s six year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn reportedly ended, the singer was spotted spending time with Healy in and out of the recording studio, with the latter additionally appearing at a number of her “The Eras Tour” shows. Swift, who carries with her a global mass of fans, may have unintentionally resurfaced some of Healy’s even darker controversies.
A previous episode of an extension of “The Adam Frieland Show”, then titled “Cumtown”, revealed that Healy once spoke about watching adult films that “brutalized” Black women. Prior to these two incidents, the singer additionally once stated that it would be “emasculating” to date Swift. Following the breakup, which coincidentally culminated in a Taylor Swift x Ice Spice collaboration and newfound friendship to show where Swift’s loyalties lie, Healy’s antics continued.
Malaysia And Boygenius
The 1975 was banned from Malaysia after he kissed bassist Ross MacDonald onstage. The nation has several anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and Healy and MacDonald sought to protest them. The indie rock band performed at Good Vibes festival in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, when the kiss cut the set short. Healy then told the crowd, “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 telling us who we can have sex with.”
The 1975 frontman went on to say, “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.” The clip from the show reached viral heights, resulting in the band’s ban from the nation. In Malaysia, homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment. The rest of the Good Vibes Fest was cancelled, and the band was slammed with a class action lawsuit. Many fans from the country felt it was an example of performative activism.
And even more yet, Healy then made an offensive joke regarding indie rock supergroup Boygenius. The singer recently tweeted that he once told Lucy Dacus of indie rock supergroup Boygenius that the band name inspired him to start another band with one of his the 1975 bandmates called “Girlr*tard.”
Matty Healy says he told boygenius member Lucy Dacus that the group inspired him to start a band called ‘Girlr*tard’ in new tweet. pic.twitter.com/usBXP5OeHj
— Pop Base (@PopBase) September 21, 2023
The word “r*tard” has been condemned as an ableist slur in recent decades, and fans of Boygenius were not pleased to see this joke made on Healy’s part. Boygenius, of which Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker are members, chose their name as a nod to the patriarchal standards of boys being told they’d rule the world one day. It is also a nod to the lack of respect for women led rock bands in the music industry over the years. The band appeared dressed in suits to mimic an earlier Nirvana photoshoot for Rolling Stone upon the release of their most recent album, “The Record.”
Dacus responded by tweeting that Healy “actually never” hears from her at all.
you don’t hear from me at all https://t.co/jKTwO0ehcX
— Lucy Dacus (@lucydacus) September 21, 2023
Social Media Reactions
As is typical of a Healyian apology, his words continue to divide the internet. Some fans felt that the BetterHelp ad was a humorous way to take accountability mid show, while others felt he was making a mockery of his very real controversies.
his apologies mean nothing when he continuously continues to disrespect minorities, etc.
— viviana (fan) (@repmiIas) October 3, 2023
Others argued that his apologies are meaningless when he continues to fall into the same patterns of insulting minorities.
He’s been pledging to “do better” for ages now ????
— steven ❀ (@arianaunext) October 3, 2023
this is like the worst apology ever
— aaden (@eatsleepfrank) October 3, 2023
Elsewhere, some felt that owning up to his issues was the first step, and to do it in public on stage was the right thing to do.
This is very mature and brave of him to do
— LUKESOUL (@iam_lukesoul) October 3, 2023
Healy and the rest of the 1975 are yet to comment further on his most recent issues.