Matty Healy has angered fans way before those Ice Spice comments
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Matty Healy has angered fans way before those Ice Spice comments

Jun 21, 2023

Matty Healy, lead singer of the pop rock band The 1975, has never been shy about expressing his opinions. Since the band gained prominence in the early 2010s, Healy has attracted attention for making crude comments and taking creative risks during live shows.

Healy is now under intense scrutiny after being linked to Taylor Swift, whose fans have expressed their disappointment over the rumored connection.

Earlier this year, Healy engaged in behavior some of his followers deemed racist, including laughing at and joining in on jokes mocking rapper Ice Spice while appearing as a guest on a podcast. While Healy and Swift have not confirmed a romantic relationship, the two have made headlines after being spotted out together. Healy has also been photographed at several of the Eras Tour concerts.

The singer's remarks about Ice Spice — with whom Swift later collaborated on a song — are just one of several incidents that have upset fans.

Here's a look at some of the controversies Healy has been involved in throughout the years. A representative for Healy declined a request for comment.

On a February episode of "The Adam Friedland Show" podcast, Healy, who is white, described how he slid into Ice Spice's DMs and received no response.

He can also be heard laughing at jokes that hosts Friedland and Nick Mullen make about Ice Spice's ethnicity (Ice Spice is Dominican and Nigerian). He appeared to encourage the co-hosts when they imitated Chinese and Hawaiian accents, and later laughed when the two imitated Japanese accents.

The podcast episode was pulled from Apple and Spotify. Fans of Healy called the remarks racist.

In April, Healy apologized for his comments, addressing Ice Spice directly while performing in Auckland, New Zealand.

"I never meant to hurt anybody," he said. "I’m sorry if I’ve offended you and, like, Ice Spice, I’m sorry. It's not because I’m annoyed that me joking got misconstrued, it's cause I don't want Ice Spice to think I’m a d---. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry. I don't want anything to be misconstrued as mean. I don't mind being a bit of a joker … but I don't want to be perceived as, like, kind of mean-hearted."

Ice Spice has not publicly responded to Healy's comments.

In an interview with The New Yorker published last week, Healy addressed the podcast appearance and said "it doesn't actually matter."

When pressed about how his fans may feel differently, Healy said: "If it does, you’re either deluded or you are, sorry, a liar. You’re either lying that you are hurt, or you’re a bit mental for being hurt. It's just people going, ‘Oh, there's a bad thing over there, let me get as close to it as possible so you can see how good I am.’ And I kind of want them to do that, because they’re demonstrating something so base level."

In January, Healy appeared to do a Nazi-style salute during a show while he sang the line "Thank you Kanye, very cool!" from his band's song "Love It If We Made It."

The lyric from the song, which was released in 2018, is a reference to Ye's (formerly known as Kanye West) support of former President Donald Trump.

Some interpreted the gesture as a reference to Ye's antisemitic remarks and praise of Hitler in late 2022.

While some fans felt the salute was satirical, many believed the act was inappropriate, regardless of intention.

"you can only hide so much under satire and art until your bigotry becomes real. context or not, a non jew throwing the salute is wrong. dead wrong," one person tweeted.

Healy has not responded to the backlash or acknowledged it.

But on "The Adam Friedland Show" appearance, Healy said Ye is "obviously someone who is dealing with grief and has mental health issues, but that's not an excuse to do, like, antisemitism."

Healy has been known for bringing up on stage fans during live shows. In 2019, he reportedly kissed a male fan in Dubai, where homosexuality is illegal.

Videos of him kissing fans at other shows have gone viral. In January, Healy made headlines again after videos from a concert in Brighton, U.K., appear to show him sucking on a woman's thumb.

Like many rock stars before him, Healy is known for his on-stage shock tactics. In addition to kissing fans, he has shoved his crotch into cameras, grinded with cameramen and eaten raw meat while performing.

In 2020, Healy tweeted his support for the Black Lives Matter movement alongside a link to his song "Love It If We Made It," which features lyrics touching on police brutality and mass incarceration: "Selling melanin and then suffocate the black men / Start with misdemeanors and we’ll make a business out of them."

"If you truly believe that ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ you need to stop facilitating the end of black ones," the now-deleted tweet said.

Fans accused the singer of using the Black Lives Matter movement to promote his band. He later apologized.

"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," he said in a now-deleted tweet.

He reposted his Black Lives Matter tweet and shared his song in a separate tweet, causing even more outrage. Healy then temporarily deactivated his Twitter, according to Variety.

Before the existing rumors around Swift and Healy, many online thought they were dating in 2014.

However, when asked about the rumors in a 2016 interview with Q Magazine, Healy denied the romance.

"It's just interesting to me how interested the world is about Taylor Swift," he said. "The reason I mention that is because if I had [properly] gone out with Taylor Swift, I would’ve been, ‘F---ng hell, I am not being Taylor Swift's boyfriend. You know, "F--k. That.’ That's also a man thing, a de-masculinating, emasculating thing."

Healy was criticized for calling a potential relationship with Swift "emasculating." He later apologized and clarified his comments, according to Elle.

"Now I may admit to being an idiot on occasion, but I am not a misogynist," Healy tweeted in a now-deleted post.

He went on to explain that his quotes were taken out of context and that he was referencing a greater fear about dating in the spotlight.

"At that time, I had fears of being ‘somebody's boyfriend’ (remember this is all speculation as we never dated!) before even being recognized for my music or presence as a person in my own right," the post continued.

Mocking Ice Spice's ethnicity Reference to Ye's antisemitism Kissing fans at live shows Black Lives Matter tweet Comments about dating Swift