Coldplay’s LGBTQ Support Sparks Indonesian Protest

Scores of conservative Muslims gathered in Indonesia’s capital on Friday, demanding the cancellation of Coldplay’s upcoming concert due to the British band’s vocal support for the LGBTQ community. Known for weaving their liberal values into performances, Coldplay, led by Chris Martin, have always been outspoken about their left-leaning politics.

Martin, at times, dons rainbow colors and waves gay pride flags during shows. The Asian leg of Coldplay’s “Music Of The Spheres World Tour” includes a highly anticipated Nov. 15 concert at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium. Ticket sales opened in May, and over 70,000 tickets were swiftly sold within two hours.

Jakarta stands out as one of the band’s major streaming hubs, boasting 1.6 million fans.
However, critics argue that Coldplay’s performances carry suggestive elements, and the band’s endorsement of the LGBTQ community is viewed as a threat to Indonesia’s moral fabric and the corruption of its youth.

Approximately 100 demonstrators gathered in Jakarta after Friday prayers, brandishing banners and signs. Chanting slogans like “God is Great” and “We reject Coldplay,” they marched toward the heavily guarded British Embassy.

Hery Susanto, a protester from West Java’s city of Bandung, emphasized the demonstration’s purpose: “We are here for the sake of guarding our young generation in this country from efforts that could corrupt youth. As Indonesian Muslims, we have to reject the Coldplay concert.”

Protest coordinator Novel Bamukmin criticized the government for permitting the concert, warning of potential confrontations if the event proceeds. Bamukmin cited Coldplay’s long-standing support for the LGBTQ community and Martin’s identification as an “Alltheist,” a term denoting broad spiritual beliefs without adherence to any specific religion.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno assured fans of an uninterrupted concert experience, emphasizing the economic benefits amid the fallout of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s influential Islamic body, urged show promoters PK Entertainment to ensure the absence of LGBTQ-themed acts or messages during the concert.

Despite Indonesia’s secular tradition, recent years have seen a more vocal generation. In 2012, Lady Gaga canceled her Indonesian show due to security concerns, and The 1975 canceled Jakarta and Taipei shows in response to anti-gay laws in Malaysia.

PK Entertainment, known for bringing world-class musicians to Indonesia, including Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber, posted its standard concert information for Coldplay fans on its website and social media, without ever addressing the brewing controversy in Southeast Asia.