The 1975 British pop-rock band fronted by Matty Healy is facing a potential class-action lawsuit. The artist’s kiss with an onstage bandmate caused the Malaysia government to cancel an entire festival in Kuala Lumpur.
This all began when the 1975’s set in Malaysia on July 21st came to an abrupt end after frontman Matty Healy spoke out against the country’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights. After a long rant to the crowd about the government of the country, Healy kissed bandmate Ross MacDonald for an extended period of time.
From there, the set ended half an hour early telling the audience before leaving the stage that they were “banned from Kuala Lumpur.”
This is not the first time Healy has spoken out against another government. Back in 2019, the frontman also broke an anti-LGBTQ law in United Arab Emirates by going into the crowd during a show in Dubai kissing a male concertgoer. But the outcome for this has been far different.
As of this time, same-sex relationships are illegal in Malaysia, and in states imposing Islamic Sharia law, some are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and some may even be subject to caning.
And now, Malaysian attorney Matthew Thomas Phillip announced a lawsuit on behalf of Malaysian artists and festival vendors against the 1975. The Good Vibes Festival ended up being canceled by the country’s Ministry of Communications for the remainder of the three-day festival due to the group’s actions on stage.
While international artists who had been booked were paid prior to the event, payment terms differed for local artists.
As of now, there are more than five artists and five vendors who joined the suit, which seeks general damages as well as exemplary and aggravated damages. There is potential other lawsuits to follow as well. A spokesperson for Future Sound Asia told Billboard that the cancellation has led to heavy financial losses this year and it could also limit future concerts in the country going forward.
Organizers of the event also said the group went against the terms of their deal by speaking, saying, “Prior to the festival, the 1975 management team reassured us that Healy and the band would adhere to local performance guidelines. Regrettably, Healy did not honor these assurances, despite our trust in their commitment. Healy’s actions took us by complete surprise, and we halted the show as promptly as feasible following the incident.”
The 1975 canceled the remainder of their Asia dates due to the fallout. Other LGBTQ groups of Malaysia have called out Healy claiming he did more harm than good in his actions.