The 1975 facing class action lawsuit over Malaysian festival cancellation

Kuala Lumpur’s Good Vibes festival was called off after Matty Healy criticised the Malaysian government and kissed bassist Ross MacDonald.

Matty Healy of The 1975 performing onstage

Credit: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

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The 1975 are reportedly facing a class action lawsuit following their recent performance which led to the cancellation of Kuala Lumpur’s Good Vibes festival.

The lawsuit – which is being prepared by Malaysian law firm Thomas Philip on behalf of artists and vendors who claim they lost earnings as a result of the festival cancellation – will name all four members of The 1975, Matty Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel, according to NME.

During the band’s performance on Friday (21 July), frontman Matty Healy made an expletive-laden speech to the crowd criticising the Malaysian government and festival organisers for inviting the band to perform.

Healy said the band had made a “mistake” choosing to perform at Good Vibes festival, saying: “I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with,” before passionately kissing bassist Ross MacDonald. Homosexuality is a crime in Malaysia and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Shortly afterwards, Healy revealed the band had been “banned” from Kuala Lumpur, and festival organisers thereafter announced the cancellation of the entire festival.

This came as part of an “immediate cancellation directive” from Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Digital, due to its “unwavering stance against any parties that challenge, ridicule or contravene Malaysian laws.

Following the incident, a representative for the band said: “Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and community.”

In a statement made at a town hall meeting in the Hartamas area of Kuala Lumpur on yesterday evening (July 25) – which was attended by 70 people, including artists, vendors and members of the media, Thomas Philip founder and managing partner Matthew Thomas Philip said the band committed a “deliberate reckless act done knowing well [sic] of the consequences”.

He added: “My view is that The 1975 must be held responsible and accountable for the losses suffered by the artists and vendors.”

As of Tuesday evening, five artists and five vendors are reportedly onboard the suit, which seeks general damages as well as exemplary and aggravated damages. A monetary figure has not yet been disclosed.

The firm, which is acting pro bono – or without charge – says it’s looking to gather its first batch of plaintiffs for the lawsuit within 7-14 days and to file suit in Malaysia.

The organiser of Good Vibes festival, Future Sound Asia, is reportedly not involved in the class action lawsuit at this time, but says it is “happy to assist them in any way needed”.

Asked by NME if Future Sound Asia was planning to take its own legal action against The 1975, a representative said the company was “currently exploring legal options”.

In a statement following the festival’s cancellation, Future Sound Asia called it a “catastrophic financial blow”. The company’s founder Ben Law said the festival was “a brand built from the ground up on Malaysian soil, cultivated by unyielding dedication, resilience, and financial risk”.

He added: “Now, this decade-long labour of love faces an unprecedented threat due to the actions of a single individual. This is a very challenging time for us.”

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