As the headline of this article might suggest, many an eyebrow has been raised regarding The 1975 frontman Matt Healy and his strange, strange antics on the band’s “At Their Very Best” North American tour, which kicked off last month. And while the name of his tour suggests otherwise, fans are starting to think that the British singer is floating somewhere between his most mediocre and his most problematic. Let’s unpack.
For those new to the British pop rock landscape, Healy is the frontman of The 1975, a band that rose to fame in 2013 after the release of their eponymous EP. I never thought I’d hear the name of the band who sang “Chocolate” and “Settle Down” beyond the halls of my old high school, but here they are again, coming to haunt the lot of us who thought we were too school for mainstream music.
Fast forward to today: Healy’s behavior on this latest tour has been well documented in viral TikToks and tweets, with stunts as absurd as consuming raw meat and as alarming as humping an innocent cameraman who was just trying to do his job. Healy has been known to enjoy a cigarette and some wine while performing, which might explain some of these questionable actions—but fans were pushed over the edge after Healy kissed a young fan standing in the front row during a recent show.
According to a TikTok made by the fan posted on December 16, the lip lock was brought about by a sign she made that said, “Be my first kiss, I’m 22.” The request caught Healy’s attention, prompting him to hop off stage and give her a smooch. Before doing so, Healy asked for her ID to make sure that she wasn’t lying about her age, and he gave the plastic card a bite for good measure. Once he confirmed that he was legally in the clear, Healy asked her twice if she was ready before giving her a nice hearty kiss on the lips.
While the fan’s enthusiastic and repeated “yes” and the crowd’s shrieks of joy confirmed that this was, indeed, an opportunity of a lifetime, fans have been divided on the incident. Some are commending Healy for checking his bases and asking for her ID; others see this behavior as making a tasteless joke about his own reputation for creepyish behavior.
First of all, Healy has a long history of kissing women at concerts that dates back as early as 2014. Fans voiced their concern when the tradition made a resurgence on this tour’s Las Vegas show on November 25, where Healy kissed a different women onstage during an interlude in the song “Robbers.” Amid a low-level backlash, she clarified a few details about the kiss, which she herself proposed with a sign on her phone that read, “So we making out?” She emphasized that the exchange was completely consensual: “HE ASKED before he kissed me!,” she explained on Twitter. “Also I’m a grown age of 24,” she added.
While these women have doubled down on the consensual nature of their respective kisses, people’s concern isn’t necessarily unfounded, as Healy doesn’t have the cleanest track record when it comes to supporting women and their boundaries. In 2016, a female music journalist came forward about the frontman sexually harassing her during an interview, telling her he was “sex-addicted and would love to meet her after the show.” In 2018, the 33-year-old musician issued an apology after telling The Fader that “misogyny doesn’t happen in rock and roll anymore.” And just last year, a fan spoke out about the 1975’s music video director Adam Powell, accusing him of being manipulative and predatory towards the band’s young fans. According to Tone Deaf, the 1975 has still not addressed the accusations.
Given all of this, I can only begin to speculate what Healy’s Instagram photo of him, Phoebe Bridgers, and Bo Burnham—in which Healy and Bridgers are kissing—could possibly mean. Simply captioned “Gay Poets Society,” my best guess is that this is Healy’s clever way of announcing the special guests on the band’s 2023 “Being Funny in a Foreign Language” tour. Here’s to hoping Bridgers greenlit that peck beforehand.