Malaysia seeks $2 million in damages from pop band 1975 for protesting their LGBTQ laws
Malaysia seeks $2 million in damages from pop band 1975 for protesting their LGBTQ laws ( Photo Credit – Instagram )

British pop band 1975 got themselves in a controversy in Malaysia, as the country’s organiser of ‘Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival’ is seeking over $2 million in damages from the group after frontman Matty Healy protested on-stage against the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws, resulting in the cancellation of the event.

According to Variety, the cancellation resulted in numerous bands and small businesses on the bill, which included both local artists and global acts such as the Strokes refusing to participate.

A legal counsel for ‘Future Sound Asia’, which is the agency behind Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival, issued a letter addressing a “breach of contract” by 1975 which stated that the band due to violating the contract must provide compensation for the agency’s losses after the cancellation of the annual, three-day event.

According to a letter which was issued on August 8, 1975 have only a few days to pay the compensation. The exact amount of days is unknown as the band refused to comment on this issue.

Future Sound Asia attorney David Matthew told Variety: “They entered into a binding contract with Future Sound Asia to perform and the position of Future Sound Asia, among others, is that this contractual obligation was breached.”

He added: “Further, Mr Healy’s representative categorically provided a pre-show written assurance that Mr Healy and 1975’s live performance ‘shall adhere to all local guidelines and regulations’ during their set in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the assurance was ignored.”

“Due to their breach of protocol, 1975’s actions have had repercussions on local artists and small businesses, who relied on the festival for creative opportunities and their livelihoods.”

Malaysia, though generally a lot more liberal than other Islamic countries towards many matters when it comes to art and music has little tolerance for LGBTQ+ themes. As such they have very strict laws against this trend, including prohibition of the Rainbow flag which symbolises the message of LGBTQ+, inclusivity, representation and diversity as well as recognition of every colour, sex, sexual affinity etc.

The country’s strictness towards LGBTQ+ is well documented as there have been frequent hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transgender couples.

The 1975 performed in the country’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, on July 21, where Healy addressed the country’s views on same-sex marriage, deriding their laws saying he had “made a mistake” by agreeing to perform in the country.

“I don’t see the f***** point… of inviting the 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,” Healy said before cutting the concert, a headlining slot at Good Vibes Festival, short. “I’m sorry if that offends you, and you’re religious… but your government are a bunch of f***** r——. I don’t care anymore. If you push, I’m gonna push back. I’m not in the f***** mood.”

After making his point, Healy kissed his male bandmate — bassist Ross MacDonald — on stage, resulting in the group getting banned from performing in Malaysia. This resulted in the entire festival getting canceled with the band being charged a hefty amount for their transgression and breach of contract.

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