Matty Healy's Sketchy Side Revealed

In 2023, outlets reported that Matt Healy and Taylor Swift were getting hot 'n' heavy following the latter's split from long-term boyfriend Joe Alwyn. But how exactly did this B-list nepo kid (his mom, Denise Welch, is a staple of British soaps) become the man of the hour? 

Well, Healy wasn't exactly a nobody before he began lovebombing T-Swift. As frontman of the 1975, he has toured the world and accumulated hordes of devoted stans. In turn, he has been linked to a number of prominent celebs including FKA Twigs (with whom he had a serious relationship), Halsey, and, in 2023, Swift. "They are both massively proud and excited about this relationship and, unlike Taylor's last one ... she wants to 'own' this romance, and not hide it away," a source dished to The Sun at the time. However, the two didn't last, and news of their breakup circulated in June 2023, about a month after the world learned of their romance.

For a woman as highly respected as Swift, it's rather surprising that she dated a man as problematic as Healy. Throughout the years, the musician has been embroiled in a seemingly endless string of controversies, from questionable interactions with fans to shading Swift herself. Let's take a deep dive inside Matty Healy's sketchy side.

He claimed dating Taylor Swift would be 'emasculating'

Taylor Swift lamented that it's exhausting rooting for the antihero. Well, she could have been talking about then-beau Matty Healy. In a 2016 interview with Q (via NME), Healy was asked to address claims that he and the "Shake It Off" star were dating, gossip that he swiftly denied. "If she wasn't Taylor Swift we wouldn't be talking about her," he said. "She wasn't a big impact on my life. It's just interesting to me how interested the world is about Taylor Swift." Of course, he could have just left it at that: dismissing the rumors and throwing in a touch of shade in the process. But this is Matty Healy we're talking about. "If I had gone out with Taylor Swift I would've been, 'F***ing hell! I am NOT being Taylor Swift's boyfriend,'" he continued. "You know, 'F***. THAT.' That's also a man thing, a de-masculinating, emasculating thing."

Subsequently, he was branded a misogynist, with some critics arguing that he was too insecure to date a woman as powerful and successful as Swift. Responding to the backlash on Twitter, Healy acknowledged that though he may come across as an idiot, he's not a misogynist.

Clarifying his remarks in an interview with The Guardian that year, however, he couldn't stop himself from making another bizarre jibe: "We fancied each other, but then we couldn't have it go any further, because it would be like going out with Barack Obama." He's the problem. It's him.

The musician performed a Nazi salute

Though bands such as the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees toyed with Nazi imagery, the whole thing feels very... 1975. Indeed, making allusions to a murderous fascist regime is certainly out of step with modern sensibilities. But that didn't stop Matty Healy from trying his hand at being a Millennial edgelord. 

During a 1975 performance in 2023, Healy marched onstage and performed a Nazi salute, while singing the lyric, "Thank you Kanye, very cool," from the song "Love It If We Made It." The offensive gesture was an apparent nod to fellow contrarian Kanye West kickstarting 2023 by declaring that he loves Hitler. Fans expressed their outrage and disappointment on Twitter. "There is no way that video of Matty Healy is 'out of context' ... The impact of some edgelord standing on a stage doing a Nazi salute is greater than any of you can comprehend unless you're Jewish," wrote one detractor. Meanwhile, some critics argued that, being a privileged white man, Healy would never face cancellation the way that West did.

This wouldn't be the last time Healy was accused of antisemitism. Around the same time he Sieg Heiled, he randomly posted a "List of Jews" from Wikipedia to his Instagram story. "This made many Jewish people uncomfortable as it was reminiscent of when the Nazis made lists of Jews," argued one Twitter user.

Matty Healy was accused of Islamophobia

On a number of occasions, Matty Healy has propagated offensive stereotypes associated with Muslim people. On his Instagram story he reposted an Islamophobic tweet, which read, "You start dating a Muslim girl then BOOM." Later, he was criticized for wearing a suicide bomber vest in the music video for "People."

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, he openly rallied against Islam, declaring, "I saw a film about Islam the other night, with people saying things like 'I'm a Muslim and I'm white' or 'I'm a Muslim and I'm an American...' You didn't see any 'I'm a Muslim and I'm gay.' Or 'I used to be a Muslim and I'm fine.'" Such sentiments are in stark contrast to the fact that there are indeed many gay Muslims.

As the outlet notes, he also once tweeted, "Isis are cutting little girls' heads off and you want to challenge a non-religious, humanist perspective? I don't understand the world at all." Subsequently, he was accused of misogyny after mocking Farida Hashem, a 19-year-old Harry Styles fan who called him out for his apparent Islamophobia. Asked by the outlet why he thought it was a good idea to deride a young Muslim girl, the musician remained unabashed. "What I was really saying was: don't start trying to educate me on f***ing Islam when you're 13," he said. "If you're telling me to stay in my lane, stay in your lane." He then confessed to being afraid of young girls pointing out his foibles.

His views on religion caused controversy

Unsurprisingly for a man who has made apparent Islamophobic remarks on numerous occasions, Matty Healy is vehemently opposed to religion. In fact, Healy thinks that religious folks are far less intelligent and enlightened than himself. "If you're, like, piously religious, if you're dogmatically faithful, you should be kind of ashamed of yourself," he told Brut in 2019. "I'm bored of certain religions as well, because certain races are more aligned with them, thinking that you can't criticize them... I never get a day where I'm allowed to be offended. Where are my rights as an atheist?"

Accordingly, he was called out for his apparent ignorance and contrarianism. "He really said 'where are my rights as an atheist' like he's someone in Saudi Arabia waiting to be executed for being an atheist and not just some white dude in the UK who feels entitled to criticizing a religion where its followers are already targeted at an all time high," tweeted one detractor (via Daily Dot).

Despite his aversion to religion, Healy has elevated himself to godlike status. In a 2014 interview with The Times, he admitted to having a "God complex," before questioning whether he could be the Messiah. Clarifying the remark in the aforementioned 2016 interview with The Guardian, he explained, "There is an element of feeling a bit like the Messiah. Well, not somebody who's here to save humanity, but somebody for whom the world does truly revolve around them."

Matty Healy made racist impersonations on a podcast

Matty Healy has long faced accusations of racism. In 2017, he mouthed the N-word during an Instagram live. At a gig in 2023, his bandmates prevented him from seemingly making a racist remark. Also that year, he was criticized following a highly controversial appearance on "The Adam Friedland Show." The musician mocked rapper Ice Spice, whom the host described as a "chubby Chinese lady" (she is neither, but rather, a svelte rapper of Nigerian and Dominican descent). Healy countered that Ice Spice is actually Hawaiian, before he and the hosts proceeded to attempt offensive impersonations of Hawaiian people. Also in the interview, he mocked the Japanese and didn't call out the hosts when they used an ableist slur to disparagingly describe the Scottish language (Healy himself suggested that the Scots language is "Medieval speak").

The interview sparked a major backlash. On Twitter, Yungblud called Healy out for his apparent misogynoir, writing, "Love listening to three privileged white dudes sit around and objectify a young Black female artist who's blowing up. Welcome to your 30s I guess." Meanwhile, critics posited that Healy's remarks are a reflection of the pervasive racism and misogyny in the music industry.

At a concert in New Zealand (via Rolling Stone), Healy half-apologized for his comments. "I just feel a bit bad, and I'm kind of a bit sorry if I've offended you," he said, adding, "I don't want Ice Spice to think I'm a d***. I love you, Ice Spice. I'm so sorry."

The musician has been accused of misogyny

Although Matty Healy claims he's a feminist, he has made a number of sexist observations throughout the years. In his aforementioned appearance on "The Adam Friedland Show," he joked about periods seemingly synchronizing when a group of women live together. "They're all doing their periods at the same time. What is that? I think it's the moon," he said, to which one of the hosts replied, "It's so funny they get f***ed up by the moon. Meanwhile, we went there." Rather than call out the hosts for their comments, Healy chuckled at them.

Interviewed by two female reporters for IX Daily, Healy was asked about his greatest fears and biggest vices, to which he retorted, "These are quite heavy questions for girls dressed like you two." When one of the women said that she was offended by the comment, the musician reasoned that he was entitled to remark on her appearance due to her being an attractive interviewer, a supposed anomaly.

Moreover, he was heavily criticized for comments he made in an interview with Fader, in which he suggested that misogyny no longer exists in rock music. "It got weeded out," he said. "It still exists in hip-hop because [the genre] is so young." The Independent suggested that the musician was brazenly clueless. As the outlet pointed out, the interview was conducted at the height of the #MeToo movement, which extended to rock music, and women in the industry are still subjected to relentless sexism.

Those bizarre fan smooches

There's no denying that Matty Healy has a thing for locking lips with random strangers. During his appearance on "Chicken Shop Date," for instance, he begged host Amelia Dimoldenberg for a kiss and kept moving in closely towards her, despite her constant protestations. Eventually, Dimoldenberg kissed the rocker on the forehead to appease him, something he branded "pathetic." Although she later told GQ that she was not averse to kissing the musician and would have done so if the cameras weren't rolling, she conceded that an onscreen kiss felt rather inappropriate. "It just wasn't right, I think it would've been so weird," she said. But in addition to trying to smooch journalists, Healy has a history of kissing his own fans.

The singer has been locking lips with audience members since 2014, and once even sucked on a fan's thumb. In 2022, he kissed 24-year-old fan Isabella, who told S*** You Should Care About that Healy asked for her consent beforehand. "It seems like if there is an ethical rockstar way to be sleazy on stage, [Healy] found it. Both parties seemed happy," fellow musician Eva Walker told The Guardian.

Although these kisses are consensual, there is an underlying issue with them that raises the ick factor. During the 1975's 2023 tour, Healy at once kissed fans and ate raw meat on stage. Studies show that the consumption of raw meat may cause tapeworms, which can be transmitted from human to human, thereby leaving his smooched fans vulnerable to parasites.

Matty Healy has been accused of transphobia and homophobia

Though he may consider himself an LGBTQ ally, Matty Healy has uttered several statements that may be perceived as transphobic and homophobic. He once referred to himself as a "transvestite," a term which is widely regarded as an antiquated slur.

Similarly, he was accused of homophobia following his appearance on "The Adam Friedland Show." Likening Harry Styles' rejection of stereotypical gender norms to Pink supposedly looking like a lesbian, he accused the former One Directioner of "queerbaiting." "He gets a pass ... I actually don't think the gays really like it," he said. "I think it's, like, young girls that think it's a new thing." The hosts then suggested that it's lesbians, not gay men, who take issue with someone supposedly queerbaiting, arguing that gay men would happily get off on the idea of unattainable straight men. Healy appeared to agree with such sentiments. "Maybe it's not all gay guys but it's a lot of them," he replied. Despite sitting atop his high horse, Healy used the word "gay" as an insult later on in the interview. "It's one of those words we make up to sound tough, which makes us sound gayer," he said of the word "lairy."

Fans expressed their disappointment on Twitter, with many accusing him of regurgitating anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. "Matty Healy, how are you getting on stage every night and mocking toxic masculinity and then going on a podcast and undoing the whole thing by being wildly ignorant, misogynistic, homophobic, racist," wrote one fan.

The musician has insulted his own fans

He may have hordes of stans, but being a Matty Healy admirer is an exhausting and almost masochistic task. At a concert in Manila in 2023, he yelled at his fans to "shut the f*** up" after they kept cheering during an acoustic performance.

The singer is also known for making cruel jibes about his fans. During a meet and greet at Rough Trade, Healy asked a woman for her name before signing an autograph. When she replied that her name was Dervla, which is of Irish origin, Healy remarked, "What? Dervla: it sounds like something you move, like, gravel with. Dervla: what is that?" His response was heavily criticized among the Irish community. "We need to stop being ashamed of our culture and stop allowing Brits to believe they're superior," argued one fan (via Irish Mirror). Meanwhile, another quipped, "Coming from a man whose name sounds like something you repeatedly wipe the soles of your feet with entering a house." However, chatting to The Forty-Five, Dervla said that she wasn't too offended by the interaction. "I think his humor is just very tongue-in-cheek," she reasoned. "I like that he's not afraid to have that sort of banter with his fanbase. The video I posted is classic Matty Healy."

At a concert in Belfast (via Belfast Telegraph) in 2023, he once again mocked his Irish fans, declaring, "You Irish are a simple people. You're easily pleased. That's good to know."

Is Matty Healy's activism authentic or performative?

There has been increasing speculation that Matty Healy's political activism is disingenuous. For instance, he caused controversy when he apparently used the Black Lives Matter movement to promote his music. "If you truly believe that 'ALL LIVES MATTER' you need to stop facilitating the end of black ones," he tweeted (via Variety) in the wake of George Floyd's murder in 2020, followed by a link to his song "Love It if We Made It." After fans accused him of utilizing BLM to advance his career, he deleted the tweet, dragged himself further by attempting to explain it away, and then deactivated his account.

Chatting to NME, he doubled down on the offending tweet. "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," he said. "That's what I was starting to become: very much this beacon of the left, which was pi**ing me off... The left was starting to wind me up." He then called out Gen-Z and cancel culture, arguing that supposed wokery is vacuous.

Moreover, prior to deleting his social media accounts, he reportedly followed Kyle Rittenhouse on Twitter. But does that mean he's genuinely shifted towards the alt-right? Well, it looks like we'll never know, with Healy refusing to ever discuss his political leanings again. "I'm not proving that I'm not racist. I'm not proving that I'm pro-women. I'm not proving I'm on the left," he told NME.