The 1975 Cancels Shows in Jakarta and Taipei After Controversy in Malaysia

Koktail Magazine

03 Aug 2023

The 1975, popular British pop-rock band has recently cancelled their upcoming concerts in Indonesia and Taiwan after their show in Malaysia was called off abruptly. 

The band faced a ban from performing in Malaysia following a controversial incident where lead singer, Matty Healy, openly criticised the country's anti-LGBT laws during their concert in Kuala Lumpur last Friday. Unfortunately, homosexuality still remains illegal in Malaysia, carrying a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

Healy added: “I don’t see the fucking point of inviting the 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with. Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m fucking furious. And that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government. Because you’re young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.”

After performing the song “I Like America & America Likes Me,” Healy surprised the audience by sharing an on-stage kiss with bass player Ross MacDonald. Approximately 30 minutes later, the band made a sudden decision to leave the stage, with Healy addressing the crowd, saying, "All right, we just received a ban from Kuala Lumpur. See you later."

Following this incident, the organisers of Malaysia's Good Vibes festival took action the next day, announcing the cancellation of the festival's remaining lineup.

The band also had a scheduled show in Jakarta which is known as the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation. In Indonesia, discussing homosexuality remains a sensitive subject, although it is not illegal except in Aceh province, which follows Muslim law. In a statement through We the Fest, the band regretfully announced the cancellation of their upcoming shows in both Jakarta and Taipei.

The band emphasised that cancelling a show is a decision they never take lightly and were excited to perform for their fans in Jakarta and Taipei. However, due to the current circumstances, they found it impossible to proceed with the scheduled concerts. The reason why the concert was on halt in Taiwan remains unclear as the country is widely recognised for its strong support for LGBTQ+ rights and progressive values, such as legalising same-sex marriage in 2019, being the first country in Asia to do so.

This event highlights the progress made in Thailand's in terms of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, despite the absence of legalised gay marriage. However, it also underscores that there is still an extensive journey ahead before the LGBTQ+ community can achieve full recognition and equality they rightfully deserve as human beings.