After initially defending his actions, singer Matt Healy now says he regrets putting a gay fan’s life in danger at a concert in Dubai last summer when he kissed him on the lips, calling his publicity stunt “irresponsible.”
Quick backstory: Last August, Healy’s band The 1975 was performing in Dubai, where homosexuality is punishable with up to ten years in prison. In a purported act of protest, Healy, who is straight, plucked a gay fan out of the crowd, pulled him up on stage, and planted a kiss on his lips.
Following the stunt, Healy jokingly tweeted: “Thank you Dubai you were so amazing. I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again.”
Thank you Dubai you were so amazing. I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given the chance again
— ?? (@Truman_Black) August 15, 2019
Responses to the kiss were mixed. Some praised Healy for his bravery, while many others criticized him for putting the young man’s life at risk.
In a December 2019 interview with Attitude, Healy pushed back against critics, saying, “My shows are gay and it was the gayest gig I’ve ever done.” He then added that he checked with the fan afterwards to make sure he hadn’t been arrested.
“He replied: ‘What do you mean? We’re in a bar, it was the best night of my life,’” Healy claimed, without seeming to give any consideration to whether things things had gone the opposite way and the fan had written back to say he was in jail.
Now, speaking to The Sunday Times, Healy says maybe that whole gay kiss thing wasn’t the best idea after all.
“When I got to Japan I was reading about it and I felt pretty irresponsible,” he now says.
“Of course, I’m not going to put people in danger, but I genuinely want to be an ally for people who don’t have a voice if I happen to have this big voice in pop culture. Those are the fundamental things I stand for.”
Healy, who came out last year as “aesthete,” which he defined as seeing men as “objectively beautiful” but “I don’t want to f*ck them,” added that he has always surrounded himself with LGBTQ people.
“Sexuality has been very uninteresting in our world because my grandad is a drag queen, I grew up in the gay theatre community with my mum, and we had trans foster kids in the family.”
We have no doubt Healy’s heart is in the right place. Here’s hoping he learned from this experience and finds better ways of protesting anti-LGBTQ laws that don’t involve endangering the very people he’s trying to help.