Metro Weekly

The 1975 Is Facing A $2.6 Million Fine For Gay Kiss

At a recent festival appearance, the band's frontman kissed one of his group mates, which has caused quite a bit of controversy.

The 1975 (
The 1975 (

The backlash from The 1975’s antics during a performance a recent music festival in Malaysia are mounting, and things aren’t trending in the band’s favor.

At a recent performance on July 21 at the Good Vibes music festival in Kuala Lumpur, the lead singer of The 1975, Matty Healy, shared a kiss with his bandmate and bassist, Ross MacDonald. This seemingly innocent gesture has now led the band into a tangled web of financial penalties and legal woes.

The consequences of Healy’s public display of affection have rippled far beyond the stage and condemnation from those in power in the nation. The festival’s organizer, Future Sound Asia, is wielding its authority by demanding a staggering $2.6 million in damages from The 1975.

The crux of the argument lies in the events that unfolded after Healy’s kiss. The cancellation of the festival’s activities for the following two days is attributed to this incident. As a result, the organizers claim to have suffered significant financial losses, and the festival’s reputation has also been tarnished within the nation.

The legal landscape in Malaysia is unforgiving toward LGBTQ rights. In addition to the criminalization of same-sex relationships, the country enforces laws that prohibit any form of challenge to Malaysian regulations. The strict legal framework has set the stage for a potentially severe backlash against Healy and his bandmates. They could potentially face jail time for the action, so they bolted out of the nation, but now more problems are developing.

The band’s window of opportunity to resolve this matter is rapidly closing. They have been given a week to fulfill the imposed financial obligations, and if they don’t, legal action will reportedly be initiated against them.

The unfolding drama is compounded by the band’s history of advocating for LGBTQ rights. Healy, despite identifying as straight, has used his platform to challenge norms and promote inclusivity by sharing on-stage kisses with other men during the group’s performances. While this gesture was intended to be a gesture of solidarity and support, the incident in Malaysia has cast it in a different light.

The festival’s organizers are not the sole party expressing discontent. Reports suggest that other musicians within Malaysia are contemplating legal action against The 1975, as they were denied their times to play following the event’s cancelation. Moreover, within the LGBTQ community itself, mixed sentiments have emerged. Some members of the community view the protest kiss as well-intentioned but ill-timed, leading to a complex and nuanced dialogue, though the lead singer doesn’t seem to be listening with an open mind.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!