The 1975 frontman Matty Healy has remained at the forefront of a number of controversies this year. This week, the singer-songwriter appeared to praise Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, mid-concert. West himself has become a widely disgraced figure in the entertainment and pop culture sphere, both for his espousing of antisemitic and far-right views.
While Healy claimed to praise West “separate of the antisemitism”, critics of the alt rock singer feel that he should not have voiced any support for West at all.
Matty Healy calls Kanye West one of his heroes after ranting about the Grammys not nominating The 1975:
“Separate the antisemitism, just think about the self-belief” pic.twitter.com/YwZWlxyOP1
— Pop Base (@PopBase) November 16, 2023
Others find it suspicious that Healy would raise West as an idol of his, since he is rumored to have briefly dated Taylor Swift mere months ago. West notoriously stormed the stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs to interrupt Swift amid her first acceptance speech to say that Beyoncé should have won. Years later, West included a widely regarded misogynistic lyric about Swift in his song “Famous”, and accused Swift of lying when she claimed that the rapper never asked for her permission. The situation is what led to the singer’s “Reputation” album.
he dated taylor and now he is praising kanye- i-
— juaan (@juaangng_) November 16, 2023
Social Media Reactions
Many felt that Healy’s apparent dismissal of antisemitism was highly offensive.
‘Separate the antisemitism’
We won’t be doing such thing. pic.twitter.com/f4cqZnrRIh
— Deedee Appleby (@deedeedott) November 16, 2023
Others found the moment as a reminder that Healy continuously does not learn and grow from the backlash he frequently receives.
he is so disgusting… he is CONSTANTLY using his platform to invalidate groups and minorities
— viviana (fan) (@repmiIas) November 16, 2023
Some felt that it was intended to be a jab at Swift, who is now in a highly publicized and widely supported relationship with NFL Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
This guys needs to read ‘How to NOT be salty about Taylor dumping your ass 101’
— Deedee Appleby (@deedeedott) November 16, 2023
This past spring, when Healy was rumored to be in a relationship with Swift after appearing at several of her concerts and Electric Lady Studios with her, the singer’s dedicated fans felt the need to research her new rumored beau. Upon doing so, a laundry list of offensive statements resurfaced.
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.
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.
Additionally, 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 would 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
Healy is yet to apologize for his latest statements on West.