Legal Trouble

The 1975 Given Ultimatum: Pay $2.7M or Face Legal Action

The 1975’s frontman Matty Healy’s onstage antics have landed the band in hot water.

Future Sound Asia, the organizer of the Malaysian music festival where Healy decried the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws in July, is suing The 1975 for 12.3 million ringgit ($2.7 million) in losses.

Here’s a full breakdown of the situation: On July 21, The 1975 performed at opening night of Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the middle of the band’s performance, Healy took it upon himself to comment on the country’s discriminatory laws. In Malaysia, homosexuality is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning.

“I don’t see the fucking point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,” he said. “Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m fucking furious.”

“It’s ridiculous to tell people what they can do with that and that and if you wanna invite me here to do a show you can fuck off,” Healy continued. “I’ll take your money, you can ban me, but I’ve done this before and it doesn’t feel good.”

After his statement, Healy shared a gay kiss with his bandmate Ross MacDonald. Just minutes later, The 1975 was kicked off stage and subsequently banned from Malaysia.

The Malaysian government canceled the remaining two days of the festival, meaning Future Sound Asia lost out on any money they would have made the rest of the weekend and had to issue refunds to festival attendees.

Future Sound Asia lawyer David Dinesh Mathew told the Associated Press that the company is suing The 1975 for a breach of contract. Apparently, the band promised, in writing, before the show to adhere to local laws and regulations.

“Unfortunately, the assurance was ignored,” Mathew said. “Their actions have had repercussions on local artists and small businesses, who relied on the festival for creative opportunities and their livelihoods.”

Malaysia’s LGBTQ+ laws are certainly worthy of criticism. Beyond the harsh sentence for homosexuality, the country also made headlines this week for banning a brand of watches with rainbow straps for their potential to “harm morality, public interest, and the interest of the state by promoting, supporting, and normalizing the LGBTQ+ movement which is not accepted by the general public in Malaysia,” as the Malaysian ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Healy’s intentions may have been pure — though many queer Malaysians doubt it, considering the negative spotlight it put on their community — but regardless, the damage was done. Now, the band has until Monday to respond to the lawsuit, or Future Sound Asia will take the matter to court. Let it be a lesson to Healy: empty allyship without consideration of the repercussions comes with a hefty price tag.

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