Matty Healy Controversy: Why He’s Problematic Amid Taylor Swift Relationship

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If you’re a 1975 fan, you might have seen the Reddit or Twitter threads, “Why Matty Healy is Controversial or Problematic” pop up every so often.

Matthew Healy, the frontman of The 1975, has been known to cause a stir on the internet with his remarks on certain topics and provocative actions. Though, his antics from the past have resurfaced after it was reported that Matty is dating singer-songwriter and superstar Taylor Swift. On May 3, 2023, sources told The Sun that Taylor Swift is reportedly dating The 1975 frontman. A source told the UK gossip site, that the two “are madly in love.” “It’s super-early days, but it feels right. They first dated, very briefly, almost ten years ago but timings just didn’t work out,” the source said. “Taylor and Joe actually split up back in February, so there was absolutely no crossover.”

“Both Matty and Taylor have been touring over the past few weeks, so it’s been a lot of Face-Timing and texting but she cannot wait to see him again,” the source said while Taylor is in the thick of her Eras Tour while Matty was wrapping up The 1975’s At Their Very Best tour in Manila, Philippines. “But as two international megastars, they understand the pressures of one another’s jobs better than anyone and are incredibly supportive of their respective careers. They are both massively proud and excited about this relationship and, unlike Taylor’s last one — which was very much kept out of the spotlight, deliberately — she wants to ‘own’ this romance, and not hide it away. Taylor just wants to live her life, and be happy. She’s told pals Matty is flying to Nashville over the weekend to support her on the next leg of her tour.”

Matty’s past actions have resurfaced and are causing a rift between Swifties who want to support their favorite artist and her happiness, but won’t support their relationship. One 1975 fan commented on a Reddit thread about his controversial past, “We cancel him so frequently at this stage I feel like we don’t give him time to grow and actually realise the implications of some of the things he’s done. There’s been so much over the years starting with the robbers kiss in the self titled era I wouldn’t know where to start.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone UK, Matty commented about his own presence online. “I’ve almost got this big brother — not Orwellian, actual big brother — relationship with them because I am one of their peers,” he said, adding that, “My phone’s like Samaritans if you’re getting cancelled.” He added that there’s a lot of content about cancellation in his album on being funny. “I think there’s three lines about being cancelled, and I’ve started thinking, ‘Fuck, I don’t really care that much about the cancelling.’ I’m not worried about that; it’s just a funny thing.”

So what did Matty Healy do to be considered so controversial? We have the scoop and evidence from different parts of the internet.

Here’s when Matty Healy made headlines or when fans considered him to be controversial.

May 5, 2020: Taylor Swift fans make a thread of Matty Healy’s controversy

After news of Taylor Swift and Matty Healy’s relationship emerged, many Swifties took to action to call out Matty’s previous actions. A Swiftie account @antiheroandie made a Twitter thread: “Matty Healy being a racist, islamophobic, antisemitic sexist, and overall piece of shit- a thread” Included in the thread are deleted tweets and videos of him doing a Nazi salute earlier in January 2023 at a 1975 concert.

April 2023: Matty Healy apologizes to Ice Spice for racist actions on a podcast

Image: Burak Cingi/Redferns for ABA

In January 2023, Matty Healy appeared on the podcast The Adam Friedland Show with the comedian and co-host Nick Mullen. Matty mentioned that he tried to message rapper Ice Spice on Instagram to which the co-hosts mocked her name and participated in racist insults towards Chinese, Hawaiian and Inuit people by doing mocking accents. One of the hosts responded to Matty, “Inuit Spice Girl,” and continued “This chubby Chinese lady. ‘Yeah, I rap and [make] music.’ Do they talk like that? Do Inuits talk like that?” Though Matty didn’t participate, he did laugh along with the hosts.

Artist Yungblud targeted Matty in a Twitter thread. “Love listening to three privileged white dudes sit around and objectify a young black female artist who’s blowing up,” he wrote “Welcome to your 30’s I guess…” Matty responded by mocking him on his Instagram stories.

The podcast has been taken down on podcast platforms but is currently still up on Youtube. Ice Spice professed herself as a 1975 fan before the podcast, but has not commented on the controversy.  Matty ended up apologizing to Ice Spice in-directly and in front of an audience during The 1975 At Their Very Best tour. “I just feel a bit bad, and I’m kind of a bit sorry if I’ve offended you,” Matty told the audience at a concert stop in Auckland, New Zealand, issuing a catch-all apology for his multiple offenses over the years. “Ice Spice, I’m sorry. It’s not because I’m annoyed that me joking got misconstrued. It’s because I don’t want Ice Spice to think I’m a dick. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry.”

In the same month, he explained why he wants to not be a bad person anymore.  “It’s because everything happens in eras,” he reportedly explained of his decision. “The 1975 is a very eras band. The era of me being a fucking arsehole is coming to an end. I’ve had enough.” He continued: “I perform all the time and it’s my job and I love doing this but I can’t perform off the stage anymore as I just want to be a bloke.”

October 2022: Matty Healy Explains Why He’s Off Twitter

Image: Matthew Baker/Getty Images

In an interview with NME, Matty Healy explained why he was off Twitter and about his tweet amid the George Floyd protests. He said, “By that point, my reaction in the room to all that Twitter shit was like, ‘Oh fuck off! You know that I’m not using this as an opportunity to monetize the half-a-pence I get paid for a fucking YouTube play’. What I’m saying is, ‘Here’s something I’ve really thought about’, and all you’ve been asking for four days is ‘Say something about it!’ So I said, ‘Here’s what I think’.”

The song “Love It If We Made It” contains some social commentary that he emphasized in the interview. “I was like, ‘You know what? If I’m gonna write about the culture war then I’m not going to be in it anymore. I’m certainly not going to become a pawn in it’ – that’s what I was starting to become: very much this beacon of the left, which was pissing me off. Not as much as the right, because there are Nazis in the right, but the left was starting to wind me up.”

He was asked if a hyper-conscious online culture and community could ever make mistakes and he explained that it was a “standard thing that an entire generation has set up for themselves. The problem with Gen Z is that they’ve set up this moral standard that they can’t even live up to! They’re starting to realize that as they’re getting into their mid-20s.”

He continued: “When you’re an idealistic 18 or 19-year-old, sure! But you will make mistakes, you will hurt people, you will do things that some people will perceive as rotten. It’s this standard that I’m trying to break down. I’m just a bloke, so are you. No one’s fooling anybody.”

September 2022: Matty Healy on Cancel Culture & Kissing Fans

Image: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

In an interview with The Guardian, Matty talks about what he thinks about cancel culture. “I’m always talking about the internet and what’s happening now, so cancel culture is something I’m interested in as a phenomenon, but I don’t want it to come across like I’m butt-hurt about it because, honestly, I don’t really care. Because what is canceling? People start a social media account and once they get more than 300 followers they can’t see their audience as anything but an audience, something to be performed to – which is why you get the weird thing of your mate who works in a brewery talking on Facebook like he’s talking to a packed convention centre. When you’re performing to an audience, the only human inclination is to be the benevolent protagonist. You’d never assume the role of the antagonist – that’s why trolls exist with anonymity.”

He continued, “People who actually put themselves out there, online, their role is to be the good guy. We’re not aware of the solipsism of this behavior because we’re all doing it. So once a week, culture generates a baddie so all the good guys can go: ‘Look how good I am in opposition to how bad he is.’ And the reason we forget about whatever morally [dubious] thing that person has done a week later is because we don’t care. It’s all literally a performance. There’s a purposeful removal of context in order to seem virtuous that happens so constantly that people can’t even be arsed.”

The “Robbers” singer also came under fire for kissing fans and eating raw meat during his concerts. One fan who partook in one of the makeouts tweeted that it was consensual between her and the frontman. “On a real note I do want to state some facts before we get any farther, i had this on my phone because he mentioned at some point “I can only make out with you.’” a fan named Isabella tweeted. “So I did this, he saw it and brought me up, HE ASKED before he kissed me! Also I’m a grown age of 24

May 2020: Twitter user makes a thread about Matty’s past

A Twitter user @sn0rkmaid3n who is also a 1975 fan made a Twitter thread about Matty’s past which also includes him allegedly making various slurs. 

May 2020: Matty deactivates Twitter after controversial Black Lives Matter tweet

Image: Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images

On May 2020 amid the George Floyd protests, Matty tweeted,  “If you truly believe that ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ you need to stop facilitating the end of black ones.” The frontman included a link to the band’s song “Love It if We Made It” in the tweet which features lyrics about police brutality and racism such as “Saying controversial things just for the hell of it / Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men.”

He came under fire immediately for promoting his song in sensitive times. He followed the tweet up with, “Sorry I did not link my song in that tweet to make it about me it’s just that the song is literally about this disgusting situation and speaks more eloquently than I can on Twitter.”

December 2018: Matty Apologizes For Rap Misogyny Comments

Image: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Matty Healy came under controversy for some statements that he made in an interview with The Fader. The singer, a recovering addict, was asked about drugs’ influence on the music industry.

He responded,  “One of the problems is the youth of hip-hop. At the moment, with SoundCloud rap, it’s become a bit of a drug-taking competition, and that happened in rock’n’roll. Those things get weeded out the longer those things exist. The reason misogyny doesn’t happen in rock’n’roll anymore is because it’s a vocabulary that existed for so long is that it got weeded out. It still exists in hip-hop because [the genre] is so young, but it’ll stop. That’s why you have this moment with young black men—Kanye-aged men, as well—talking about their relationship with themselves, which is a big step forward for hip-hop. Drake, for example. But then they’ll be like, “But I still got bitches.” The scene’s relationship with women hasn’t caught up to its relationship with itself, but that’s something that will happen.”

Days after the publication of the interview, he tweeted, “What I said isn’t correct. And it’s not all a misquote. Just for clarity I said that misogyny wasn’t ALLOWED in rock and roll now days in a way it is in hip hop – not that it doesn’t exist, that’s maybe a misquote as I’m aware of the misogyny in rocknroll…I would never deny the RAMPANT misogyny that exists in rock’n’roll. It’s everywhere and has been a weirdly accepted part of it since its inception.”

He later continued, “Just to clarify I’m not apologizing for saying ‘rock music is void of misogyny’. I didn’t say that. Anybody who says that is not only thick as fuck they most probably don’t have physical eyes. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m apologizing for the fact my words could INSINUATE that misogyny in culture and music is an exclusively hip-hop (Black) issue. I do not believe that. What I believe is that I’m not educated enough to speak on THAT properly and a big part of that is this white dick that I have.”

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