By Grace Park, Staff Writer
Lead singer of the band The 1975, Matty Healy, found himself in the middle of yet another scandal after making a number of problematic remarks on the podcast The Adam Friedland Show.
Healy made several offensive comments about multiple racial and ethnic groups, even accusing Harry Styles of queerbaiting.
The incident also included Healy joking about up and coming rapper Ice Spice’s ethnicity.
Fans and others have wondered why he hasn’t received more criticism over his disparaging comments. Healy has not yet commented on the backlash he has received for his remarks.
Students on campus reacted to the controversy, sharing their thoughts on Healy’s comments.
“He should try to watch his mouth when talking about other public figures like Harry Styles who have a, for lack of better words, rabid fan base that will defend him until they’re cold in their grave,” sophomore film major Aidan Serviss said.
After The 1975’s At Their Very Best UK concert tour in support of their fifth album, “Being Funny in a Foreign Language,” Healy has once again emerged as a significant artist in the indie rock community.
However, after many moments from the band’s tour went viral as a result of Healy’s behavior, which included eating raw meat and kissing fans, among other things, fans of Healy are now critical of the singer after his inappropriate behavior.
“It’s definitely weird and very much an entitled man knowing he’ll get away with anything and just doing it for a rise. I feel like he’s always been this way, but now that he’s popular again with his new album now he feels the need to be different and just do whatever,” senior art history major at Stony Brook University Jordan Isaac said.
Many people still support Healy, but find his behavior unsurprising.
“Do I agree with some of his views on certain things? No, I believe some of his beliefs are misguided and a little uneducated. I come at this with the understanding that Matty used to be a drug addict, he used to be young, and he’s a rockstar. But he’s in his thirties now, and he’s trying to reclaim the youth that he never got to fully experience when he was addicted to heroin. Personally, I think he should grow up and mature a little bit,” Serviss said.
Like many others, Isaac discovered The 1975 when she was in middle school during the era of Tumblr and the height of the band’s success. She and many others continue to support him although wary of his recent controversies.
“I can admit he was a big part of my childhood in like 2016 and whenever the first 1975 album came out, because it had a huge impact on me, not just musically but as a person, and so I’ll always have a soft spot for that and be grateful for him creating that music, but I think that this is the type of person that he is,” Isaac said.
Serviss believes Healy has the right to express himself in whatever way he sees fit.
“Matty has a right to his opinion like anyone else, and his opinion isn’t harming anyone else other than maybe himself? Matty actually wasn’t advocating for anything to stop Harry Styles from queerbaiting, he was just voicing an opinion about it,” Serviss said.
Some have claimed that his behavior is a performance, an ironic portrayal of fame and authenticity in an age of cancel culture.
“If it’s a bit, then it’s only funny to him. I don’t think anyone is in on the bit or enjoying the bit or in on it. I think it’s his weird ego trip that he thinks that he’s doing. If it is a bit, no one else is in on it. No one else is laughing or having a good time except for weirdos who agree with him,” Isaac said.
Serviss believes he should tone it down and believes his behavior is lost in translation to some.
“[The] manager [of the 1975], Jamie Osbourne, literally messages the band’s group chat to tell them to not joke about 9/11 when that day rolls around, because Matty has a history of joking about it. I understand why some people would think he was being offensive just for the hell of it. I do think he should curb his behavior a bit, given society’s need to cancel everyone who doesn’t conform to their own holier than thou views, but he is an independent, thirty year old man who can do whatever he wants. If he wants to face those repercussions, then by all means, let him be,” Serviss said.
Although his actions have angered fans, they are hesitant to cancel him.
“I think a lot of like canceling people or canceling culture comes out of wanting to appear like you’re doing something good or wanting to not necessarily inform or educate people but more to punish them. He’s been in the industry for so long and I think that a lot of what he does is kind of daring people to cancel him, but I think there’s nothing wrong with people personally deciding to cancel him, for lack of a better word,” Isaac said.
Serviss shared a similar opinion.
“This man has been canceled pretty much to hell and back for numerous different things, most of which involving his hot takes about sexuality and religion. He always seems to bounce back from it. I don’t think canceling him for this situation is exactly justified,” he said.
The band will appear as the musical guests for an upcoming episode of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) on March 11. Following their SNL performance, the band will continue with the rest of their U.S. tour.