Malaysia stos music fest after British band slams anti-gay laws, singer kisses male bandmate

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s government Saturday cut short a music festival after the lead singer of British band The 1975 slammed the country’s anti-gay laws and kissed a male bandmate during their performance.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil slammed Matty Healy’s conduct late Friday at the start of the Good Vibes Festival as “very rude.”

Healey used profanity in his speech criticizing the government’s stance against homosexuality, before kissing bass player Ross MacDonald. Footage of the fiasco was posted on social media and sparked a backlash in the predominantly Muslim nation.

After meeting the festival organizers Saturday, Fahmi said the festival, which was scheduled to go on this weekend, will be canceled.

“There will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles or violates Malaysian laws,” he said in a statement on Facebook. Homosexuality is a crime in the country that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and caning.

The agency in charge of approving performances by foreign artists said it was disappointed with the band’s conduct, calling it “an insult and disrespecting the laws of the country.” It said the group will be blacklisted from performing in Malaysia.

It wasn’t the first time that Healy used the stage to defend lesbian and gay rights. In 2019, he kissed a male fan during a concert in the United Arab Emirates, which also outlaws homosexual acts, according to media reports.

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