Healy and his band performed in front of a huge rainbow flag, the international symbol for gay rights. According to reports he told the crowd during the show: “If you’re gay, I love you and God f***ing loves you.” The provocative star then went down into the crowd during the song Loving Someone and kissed a male fan. Healy later tweeted his suspicion the band would not be allowed to return to the country but that he regretted nothing. A major backlash, online, however, has not been praising his support of the oppressed LGBTQ community but rather slamming the danger he put the fan in, after images and video footage of the moment were shared online. There were claims online the local police were searching for the young fan.
After the gig, Healy tweeted: “Thank you Dubai you were 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.”
Later he added: “But who knows maybe they will let me back in let’s just wait and see,” with a smiley symbol.
Instead of praise for his liberal advocacy of human rights, however, the response has been startlingly critical.
One fan blasted: “So y’all realize how stupid matt healy’s move was??? he kissed a fan in a VERY homophobic country and as someone who is from a homophobic country i know how dangerous it is if lgbtq+ people get caught..he put an innocent guy’s life in danger.”
Others added: “Dubai is known to be like 1 of the most homophobic countries in the world. in fact, homosexuality is illegal there. now, I heard that the police are currently looking for that boy he kissed. congrats matt healy, ur dumb act just put that boy’s life in danger.”
“I literally cannot stand matt healy f*** him for putting someone in a life-threatening situation and f*** his fans for defending him.”
“As much as I love the 1975, Matt Healy kissing that boy in Dubai, literally putting him in a life-threatening situation, to make a statement, is peak white people activism.”
Homosexual sex is illegal across the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is part, carrying a 10-year prison sentence. The official warning from British Foreign Office warns anyone travelling to the region that public displays of affection are frowned upon and there have been arrests in the past for kissing in public.
But has anything happened since the event?
Some fans claim there has been no evidence the young fan is in trouble with the authorities. Of course, it is highly unlikely any of them are privy to any police operations.
One wrote: “I searched Arabic news for this matt healy thing and not one bit of news about any police getting involved, also not at everyone tweeting not being from Dubai or Emirates. the only source covering the concert from the UAE said good things and didn’t mention this incident at all.”
Another commentator reposted a message apparently from the young man in question saying: “We need to stop the rumours about me in danger when I’m not.”