Malaysia festival demands $2.7 million in damages over Matty Healy gay kiss

Matt Healy at Lollapalooza Festival

The organisers behind Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival are suing British band The 1975 for $2.7 million after frontman Matt Healy kissed bandmate Ross MacDonald onstage.

The music festival, held in Kuala Lumpur, was cancelled after Healy kissed bassist MacDonald in front of a huge crowd on 21 July.

Gay sex is criminalised in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while LGBTQ+ people face regular discrimination and receive no protection against hate crimes

Due to Healy’s same-sex kiss, a lawyer for the festival organisers has said that Good Vibes Festival is seeking $2.7 million in damages from the British indie-rock band

Breach of contract

“I can confirm that my firm issued a seven-day letter of claim to the UK band 1975 demanding for RM12.3 million [$2.68 million] in damages on behalf of Future Sound Asia (FSA),” David Dinesh Mathew, a lawyer for event organiser FSA said in a statement on Friday (11 August) .

David said the claim filed on Monday (7 August) against the band was “essentially for breach of contract”, as Healy’s representative had allegedly signed an assurance that the band would “adhere to all local guidelines and regulations” in their set. 

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The 1975 have until Monday 14 August 2023 to respond to the legal action. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images)

David added that the cancellation of the festival following the uproar “had repercussions on local artists and small businesses”.

The band have until Monday 14 August to respond to the letter.

Frontman Healy was accused of “white saviourism” and “performative activism” for using his headline slot to speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ laws in Malaysia.


Replying to @a kid named rufus updated video on the situation – answered some questions that were asked in the previous, and went a little more in depth into why this situation harms Malaysians, the LGBTQ+ community that lived there, and the entertainment industry that worked so hard to bring out these artists in the first place. (my take as a queer Malaysian musician) #the1975 #goodvibesfestival #gvf2023 #lqbtq #fyp

♬ original sound – a kid named rufus

Before kissing his bandmate, Healy launched into a speech criticising anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the Muslim-majority country. 

Healy said he had “made a mistake” by agreeing to perform at the show in Kuala Lumpur, telling the crowd: “I’m sorry if that offends you, and you’re religious … I don’t care any more. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f**king mood.”

Queer Malaysian artist Rufus Sivaroshan said it left many people fearing a police and government crackdown, telling PinkNews it was a “really, really inconsiderate thing to do.”

This was not the first time Healy has used onstage antics to protest anti-LGBTQ laws, kissing a fan at a concert in Dubai back in 2019. 

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