Recently, The 1975 played the Good Vibes festival in Malaysia. Given the nations strict and backward anti LGBT laws, singer Matt Healy thought it would be a good idea to launch a verbal attack on the government and kiss the male bassist.
Now, we are 100% in support of LGBT rights, but there’s a very important rule here: if you’re a foreigner, and you’re in a restrictive country, you must not cause a shitstorm and fly out unscathed and leave the locals left behind stuck with the clampdown. The government had the festival cancelled immediately, and the future of the organisers looks murky and unclear.
Performers and vendors are now preparing a class action lawsuit for the financial losses they all took, and cannot afford to take. Many of these are not well off businesses.
The truth is, live music in Malaysia is going to suffer, as the government lashes out and clamps down. It will be harder for locals to put on events, it will be much harder for international acts to come in, and Good Vibes festival may cease to exist after ten years of hard work building it up among Malaysian grass roots, and that’s just with regards the music side, let alone the personal side of the organisers.
CNN had plenty of quotes from LGBT campaigners now facing a massive backlash:
““What Matty Healy did, he thought he was doing something for us, but it’s giving white savior complex,” said Carmen Rose, a Malaysian drag performer. “He thinks we need saving, he thinks we need fixing, when in reality we have queer organizations here already doing the work…If he wanted to advocate for queer rights here, he wouldn’t just fly off and leave the mess behind,” she added. “I don’t think he’s doing it for the community, he’s just doing it for himself … it was a publicity stunt.”
“He is totally ignorant to the actual experience of the LGBT community in Malaysia and his performative ‘display’ has put the entire Malaysian queer community in the cross-hairs of an already conservative (government),” one person wrote on X.”