The 1975 cancels Jakarta, Taipei concerts after singer Matty Healy’s same-sex kiss controversy

JAKARTA, Indonesia — British pop rock band The 1975 announced on Sunday it was canceling its shows in Jakarta and Taipei after the Malaysian government cut short a music festival in the wake of the band’s lead singer slamming the country’s anti-gay laws and kissing a male bandmate during their performance.

The 1975 was scheduled to have a performance at We The Fest, Indonesia’s annual summer music festival, in Jakarta on Sunday night, part of their 2023 Asia tour.

The 1975 regret to announce that their forthcoming shows in Jakarta and Taipei will no longer be going ahead as planned,” the group said in a statement posted on We The Fest’s social media platforms on Sunday. They added that the decision was not made lightly “but unfortunately due to the current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the current shows.”

The 1975 announced on Sunday it was canceling its shows in Jakarta and Taipei in the wake of lead singer Matty Healy kissing a male bandmate onstage.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, does not prohibit LGBTQ rights except in the conservative Aceh province.

During the band’s set at the Good Vibes Festival, Matty Healy, the lead vocal of The 1975, used profanity in his speech criticizing the Malaysian government’s stance against homosexuality, before kissing bass player Ross MacDonald. Footage of the incident was posted on social media and sparked a backlash in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.

Malaysia’s Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil slammed Healy’s conduct late Friday and said in a Facebook post that homosexuality is a crime in the country punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning.

After meeting the festival organizers Saturday, Fahmi said the festival, which was scheduled to go on this weekend, would be canceled. “There will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles or violates Malaysian laws,” he said in the statement.

The agency in charge of approving performances by foreign artists said it was disappointed with the band’s conduct, calling it “an insult and disrespecting the laws of the country.” It said the group will be blacklisted from performing in Malaysia.

It wasn’t the first time that Healy used the stage to defend lesbian and gay rights. In 2019, he kissed a male fan during a concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also outlaws homosexual acts, according to media reports.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The 1975 cancels Asian concerts after same-sex kiss controversy

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