The news comes after The 1975 and Matty Healy were banned from Kuala Lumpur last Friday (July 21) for criticising the Malaysian government for anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Healy, who was visibly drinking onstage, had also smashed a festival-owned drone, and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald onstage, before announcing just seven songs into their set that they had been banned from Malaysia and had to leave.
“I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it. I don’t see the fucking point, right, I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,” Healy said prior to the kiss.
The band were headlining the first day of the Good Vibes Festival. The following day (July 22), the country’s communications minister announced that he had ordered the rest of the festival cancelled.
Muse are the first major international band to perform in Malaysia since the incident, and according to an organiser of their upcoming concert, the band were proactive in ensuring that their performance fits into the country’s guidelines.
“They called us shortly after the incident went global. After discussions, they decided to pull one song out of the setlist due to the title of the song. It’s nice to know they’re eager to entertain while also respecting the guidelines,” Hello Universe founder Adam Ashraf said. He did not reveal which song was removed from the setlist.
Now, Matty Healy has reacted to Muse’s decision to remove a song from their Malaysia setlist via his personal Instagram Stories. He first shared a screenshot of a Muse pre-order message that reads “Join the Resistance”, before sharing the news of Muse removing a song from their setlist.
The Malaysian LBGTQ+ community has since condemned Healy’s actions, with many saying he has set back years of progress that the local community has made.
“If anything, what Matt Healy and The 1975 have done is discount and disrupted YEARS of work by local activists who have been pushing for change and understanding AND endangering our vulnerable minority communities,” Joe Lee wrote in a viral Twitter thread.
Another Twitter user added: “this is singlehandedly pushing back any progress queers in Malaysia could have made in the past century. this is purely performative activism and the 1975 have no idea that what they did is the worst thing that could happen to us”.
Malaysian artists and vendors are also readying a class action lawsuit against Matty Healy and The 1975. The class action lawsuit, which is being readied by Malaysian law firm Thomas Philip, will name all four members of The 1975 and seek compensation over losses suffered as a result of the incident, which the firm’s founder and managing partner Matthew Thomas Philip labelled a “deliberate reckless act done knowing well [sic] of the consequences”
The cancellation of Good Vibes also reportedly affected 28 food vendors who spent thousands in Malaysian ringgit to purchase stock for the festival – at least RM15,000 (£2,500), according to one vendor – on top of paying upfront to rent a stall on site, among other costs. Calls to support affected vendors have been circulating in local media.