A Malaysian festival has threatened legal action against The 1975 after the band’s frontman Matty Healy made a speech about homosexuality and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald onstage at the event last month.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and are punishable under federal law.
The Good Vibes Festival, which was held in the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur in July, said it was demanding compensation because the three-day event was axed after The 1975’s performance.
Organisers said Mr Healy’s “use of abusive language, equipment damage, and indecent stage behaviour” impacted them financially.
The festival’s other headliners – Australian singer-songwriter The Kid Laroi and American rock band The Strokes – did not play after the incident.
The organisers of the Good Vibes Festival, Future Sound Asia (FSA), said they would take legal action in England if the band do not respond to a claim letter issued today.
It said in a statement the letter calls for The 1975 to “acknowledge their liability and compensate FSA for damages incurred”.
The statement said: “FSA would like to reiterate their strong disapproval of the band’s behaviour during their performance at GVF2023.
“In particular, lead singer Matthew Timothy Healy’s use of abusive language, equipment damage, and indecent stage behaviour not only flagrantly breached local guidelines and Malaysian laws but also tarnished the reputation of the 10-year-old festival.”
It also claimed the cancellation resulted in “significant financial losses for FSA and negatively [impacted] local artists and businesses that depended on the festival’s success – affecting the livelihoods of many Malaysians”.
The band also contravened an agreement with FSA, the organisers argued.
The statement added: “FSA deeply values the trust that fans and regulatory authorities have placed in them over the years.
“The organisation remains unwavering in its commitment to fostering vibrant live music experiences in Malaysia, ensuring full compliance with local laws and regulations.”
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During the band’s performance at the festival, Mr Healy said he planned to pull out of the show as he did not “see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with”.
But the 34-year-old said he decided to appear at the festival because he did not want to disappoint fans.
“Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f****** furious and that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool,” he was reported to have told the crowd.
He then kissed his bandmate.
Several minutes later, Mr Healy walked off stage before coming back and saying: “Alright, we just got banned from Kuala Lumpur, see you later.”
The Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Digital said last month The 1975 had been blacklisted under a body that oversees foreign artists playing in Malaysia.
The 1975 then cancelled two tour dates in Asia – at We The Fest in Jakarta, Indonesia, and at the Taipei Music Centre in Taiwan – following the event.
The band’s representative has been approached for comment by Sky News.