The 1975 cancels Indonesia, Taiwan gigs after Malaysia LGBTQ row

Malaysia banned the British band after its lead singer kissed a bandmate on stage and criticised country’s LGBTQ laws.

Ross McDonald, Matt Healy, George Daniel and Adam Hann of The 1975 pose with their award for Best British Group at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, February 22, 2017.
Adam Hann, Matt Healy, George Daniel and Ross MacDonald (from left to right) of The 1975 pose with their award for Best British Group at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London, UK, February 22, 2017 [File: Neil Hall/ Reuters]

British band The 1975 has cancelled shows in Taiwan and Muslim-majority Indonesia a day after Malaysia banned them from performing there over an on-stage same-sex kiss.

In a statement on Sunday, the indie-rock group said, “Due to current circumstances, it is impossible to proceed with the scheduled shows.”

It did not elaborate further.

The Malaysian government halted the Good Vibes music festival in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday and barred The 1975 after lead singer Matt Healy kissed the band’s bassist, Ross MacDonald, on stage the previous night.

Healy also gave a profanity-laden speech that criticised the government’s stance against homosexuality.

Homosexuality is a crime in Muslim-majority Malaysia and rights groups have warned of growing intolerance against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Fahmi Fadzil, the Malaysian communications and digital minister, slammed Healy’s actions as “very rude” and said, “There will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles or violates Malaysian laws.”

The events also angered members of Malaysia’s LGBTQ community, who said Healy’s actions could expose LGBTQ people to more stigma and discrimination.

The 1975 was due to perform on Sunday in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, where homosexuality is a taboo subject, though not illegal except in Aceh province governed by Muslim law.

Other LGBTQ-related events have also been cancelled in Indonesia due to objections from Islamic groups, including a planned visit last December by a United States LGBTQ special envoy, and the scrapping this month of a Southeast Asia LGBTQ event.

Both came after pressure from religious conservatives.

The Indonesian government and festival organisers are yet to comment on the cancellation.

It was not immediately clear why the band cancelled the July 25 show in Taiwan, which has a proud reputation as a bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism, including allowing same-sex marriage in 2019.

The on-stage protest was not a first for Healy, who kissed a male fan at a 2019 concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also has tough anti-LGBTQ laws.

Source: News Agencies