The 1975 frontman Matty Healy has been the talk of the internet ever since the band embarked on their ‘being funny in a foreign language’ tour. In December, multiple videos of Matty kissing fans at his concert began to go viral. In some he jumped into the crowd, while other fans got to snog him on stage in front of thousands of envious others. This is something he does often while performing their song ‘Robbers’.
— Annawee (@annaleetaylor_) November 26, 2022
Fans of The 1975 couldn’t stop tweeting about how they wished it was them. But it rubbed some others the wrong way. The videos raised questions about whether it was appropriate for someone in Healy’s position to kiss a fan. There is an undeniable imbalance of power that struck people as problematic. There is also the issue of assumed consent – however the fan in one of the videos later clarified that Matty had asked first. It is also fairly common for musicians to kiss fans during concerts. During their Minneapolis show in December, he even checked one fan’s ID before becoming her (unforgettable and magical) first kiss. Elvis Presley has done it, so have Billie Joe Armstrong, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey – the list goes on.
matty healy kissing fans onstage is giving me the ick but at the same time I am very much open to this happening to me
— jusdani (@leanbeefmami) November 27, 2022
But Matty doesn’t stop there, oh no. Over the past few months of touring, the 33-year-old vocalist has bitten into raw meat on stage, pretended to masturbate and nearly pulled down his pants on stage. His antics only continue to get stranger. A recent video shows him approaching the crowd and spontaneously sucking a fan’s thumb. The fan shared the video on Twitter, and it has been reshared several times since.
matty healy just sucked my thumb goodnight pic.twitter.com/z81y4nUvd6
— kayleigh (@kayyculffx) January 8, 2023
Despite publicly indulging in behaviour that one could easily interpret as inappropriate, Matty Healy has hardly lost the support of his fanbase. Sure, a few tweets calling him ‘problematic’ and attempting to ‘cancel’ him did surface. Many people rightfully felt uncomfortable seeing pictures and videos from his shows. But besides mild outrage, Matty’s crown as alternative music’s favourite softboy continues unchallenged.
From the early days of The 1975’s two decade long career, Matty has maintained his image as a skinny, grungy, outspoken and somewhat pretentious but undeniably lovable celebrity crush. The 1975’s massive fanbase and their mildly concerning obsession with him is testament to that fact. Fans love his authenticity, even if it is sometimes disturbing. He is honest with his art and even more so with his online presence, never shying away from saying what’s on his mind. He shares his political views unabashedly, as he did with the Black Lives Matter movement and Alabama’s abortion ban.
it’s the 48th anniversary of roe vs wade? let’s bring this back to the tl… matty healy speaking out against alabama’s abortion ban pic.twitter.com/63lTvdt3cW
— 💓 (@nononovocaine) January 23, 2021
All of this, put together with the subtext of irony in his bizarre on stage behaviour, make Matty Healy a pop culture icon. It helps, of course, that a good section of his fanbase is chronically online. No matter how one may feel about Matty Healy’s overall aesthetic, it is hard to deny the appeal.