The controversy caused by the rock-pop band The 1975 is big in Malaysia. The story broke down when the band single-handedly caused an entire music festival, Good Vibes Festival (GVF), to be cancelled by their stunt. So, what really happened?
Well, the whole story started long before the stunt. According to Fahmi Fadzil, Minister of Communications and Digital Malaysia, the application made by GVF was rejected by JK PUSPAL (Application Committee for Filming Foreign Films and Performances of Foreign Artists). Then, sometime around July, GVF appealed. In their appeal letter, they attached a letter from the band’s manager promising that they would take full responsibility for the band’s performance. But wait, does this mean that the band did not promise to behave and be good boys? Tsk.Tsk.
The Performance, The Stunt, and Everything In-Between
A lot of things were reported during the event. From what I read through my Twitter timeline, alcohol was involved. Then he went on rambling about gay rights saying:
“I don’t see the fucking point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,”. “Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m fucking furious.
“And that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government. Because you’re young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.”
Then, he decided that it was a good idea to give his bandmate a French kiss, as you can see here:
Seriously Matt, why oh why? You could have just sing, take the money and leave. Anyways, merely a few hours after the whole incident, the band was reported to have left the country at 4 a.m. Malaysia time. Cowards.
A lot of people were angry at the band after their performance. And they had good reasons to be mad too. One, the whole festival was cancelled. An anticipated 3-day event was cancelled. People paid their hard-earned money to see their favourite artists perform in real-life and not getting the chance to do so. What about the other additional costs such as accommodation and transportation? Those are not free.
Two, the vendors. They are those who were supposed to gain money. What happens to them?
Three, the LGBT community. The thread here sums up the best insight into this matter.
I agree with most of the points he made in his thread. He wrote:
“Matty pulling that stunt actively endangers all those efforts by shining a spotlight onto us. Conservatives outrank us here and literally raided Swatch (the watch company) for having a pride collection. All this does is tighten the laws against us and increase the number of eyes on us. All that’s going to happen is our Conservative party will use this to push more laws against us and international entertainment. More misdirected hate will be targeted towards us”.
“So, whilst I’m really sorry that he feels terrible when performing in a homophobic country, I live here. Imagine how I feel. The band should’ve just not come if it makes them feel so horrible because they’ve made it worse for the people who actually live here. This is performative activism. That’s it. It’d be one thing if he donated his profits to a local queer organisation or offered anything actually substantial to us that could actually push the movement in a helpful way, but all he did was throw a tantrum”.
As of 23rd of July, the band announced that they are cancelling their Indonesia and Taiwan shows after the controversy.
The band’s stunt definitely is not helpful in any way possible. They only make it worse for the minority community in the country. This thing they pulled angered almost everyone from the concert-goers, and the political parties to the general public. I guess it is a good thing when they are banned from performing in Malaysia.