British pop rock band The 1975 announced Sunday it was canceling shows in Jakarta and Taipei after the Malaysian government halted a music festival after the band’s lead singer criticized the country’s anti-gay laws and kissed a bandmate during their performance.
The 1975 were scheduled to perform at We The Fest, Indonesia’s annual summer music festival, in Jakarta on Sunday night, as part of their 2023 Asia tour.
“The 1975 regrets to announce that their upcoming shows in Jakarta and Taipei will no longer take place 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 taken lightly «but unfortunately due to the current circumstances, it is impossible to continue with the current programs.»
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, does not ban LGBTQ rights except in the conservative province of Aceh.
Matt Healey, the lead vocalist of The 1975, used profanity in his speech criticizing the government’s stance against homosexuality, before kissing bassist Ross MacDonald. Footage of the incident was posted on social media, sparking a backlash in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.
Malaysia’s Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil criticized Matty Healy’s conduct on Friday night, saying in a Facebook post that homosexuality is a crime in the country punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning.
It was not the first time that Healy used the stage to defend the rights of lesbians and gays. In 2019, she kissed a male fan during a concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also bans homosexual acts, according to media reports.