Earlier today, a report in Inquisitr asked if we could trust anything the media tells us about One Direction. There can be no doubt that Simon Cowell took five young men and crafted them into a $1 billion brand. We know from the Sony email leak scandal that each of the members of One Direction had a “role” to play. A myth and an image was carefully constructed by Simon Cowell and One Direction’s management to ensure that brand loyalty was gained and that fans bought into that manufactured image.
It is probably fair to say One Direction’s management team were caught by both the success of One Direction and by the extent to which the band became a social media phenomenon. As a result, control of One Direction’s image became a huge task. The task was complicated further by fans who came to believe that One Direction stars Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are or at least were in a relationship. Styles has almost continuously been linked with a string of high-profile celebrity “girlfriends” whilst Tomlinson was supposedly in a long-term relationship with Eleanor Calder. The problem faced by One Direction’s management was that fans just didn’t buy the image created for One Direction. The concept of spreading rumors to raise the media profile of stars is hardly a new one and One Direction fans were simply unprepared to accept what they were fed in the media.
If it was impossible to control One Direction fans, then the next best thing was to discredit them. If One Direction fans were to be discredited, then it could not be done by One Direction’s management alone. If a smear campaign was to be successful, the cooperation of at least part of the mainstream media was required. It is the links between Cowell, Syco, One Direction’s management and PR teams where the story becomes truly disturbing. U.K.-based tabloids the Sun and the Daily Mail are the root of many stories about One Direction. In fact, both outlets frequently reference each other and both frequently print stories painting One Direction fans in a poor light. Both frequently cite “unnamed sources close to One Direction.”
In October 2015, the Sun published a now infamous article about the “downfall of One Direction.” The article claimed that Styles and Tomlinson hated each other and laid the blame for One Direction’s forthcoming hiatus firmly at Tomlinson’s feet. In the same article, the Sun branded One Direction fans as delusional.
“Ironically a group of 1D fans around the globe passionately believe in ‘Larry Stylinson’ — the idea that Louis and Harry are in a secret gay relationship.”
“They claim that everyone from Cowell to the band’s management company Modest and publicists HJPR to journalists like me have been part of a giant cover-up of the romance.”
“Given Louis and Harry spent a long time unable to even fly in the same private jet because of the hatred between them, that’s a laughable notion. And neither is gay.”
The clear implication of the article is that One Direction fans are delusional. What journalist Dan Wootton fails to explain is that he and Simon Jones, the co-founder of HJPR, are close friends. One Direction’s management ties with the Sun do not end there. In July 2015, the Sun broke the news that Louis Tomlinson was to be the first One Direction member to become a father. The story was reported by Pete Samson, the U.S. editor of the newspaper. Samson quoted the usual source as someone “close to One Direction.” Many One Direction fans are suspicious of the fact that Samson happens to be married to Anne-Marie Samson, who is the head of Simon Cowell’s PR team. It is believed Ms. Samson was also responsible for One Direction’s psychological well-being.
Just yesterday, the Daily Mail recycled an article from a couple weeks back in which Saira Khan attacked One Direction fans for trolling her on Twitter. As reported by Inquisitr, the article doesn’t tell the whole story about why she was trolled. One Direction fans may wonder why this story was resurrected at this time. Could it be to discredit fans and deflect attention from the fact that Harry Styles has sacked One Direction’s management as he looks forward to releasing solo material? It won’t have escaped notice that many One Direction fans are also putting forward strong suggestions that Louis Tomlinson’s baby story is a One Direction PR stunt.
Many will dismiss that idea with a rueful shake of the head, believing that no-one would pull such a wicked stunt. Consider, however, that Steve Brookstein, the first ever X-Factor winner revealed in his book that Simon Cowell and the Sun wanted to run a fake story on him claiming that he had gotten married.
Whilst Cowell may not have the same sort of influence over the Mail as he does the Sun, the Mail‘s owner Viscount Rothermere is one of Cowell’s London neighbors. The Mail has reported huge exclusives like “Louis Tomlinson went shopping” and “Liam Payne seen exhaling smoke” in recent weeks.
A third source of negative stories about One Direction and their fans comes from Bauer Media. It was Bauer who created the Channel 4 documentary Crazy About One Direction, a program that grossly misrepresents One Direction fans and portrays them as insane. The cross-platform media group has been the source of numerous articles about Tomlinson and One Direction. Just just a couple of weeks back, one of Bauer’s magazines, Life and Style ran a piece that intimated that Tomlinson had abandoned Jungwirth leaving her to assemble IKEA furniture by herself just before the baby’s arrival.
There are clear links between Bauer and One Direction’s management. Media Week reported back in 2013 that Bauer had hired Mark Hardy in the new role of group digital director for its London lifestyle and radio brands. Hardy was the marketing director for Simon Cowell-owned Syco Entertainment, where he presided over the global launch of One Direction. One has to wonder why, when One Direction’s management has such strong media connections, they allow so many negative One Direction stories to run unchallenged. It is bizarre that One Direction’s management has not issued a simple statement about the arrival of Tomlinson’s baby. With a variety of media attacks on One Direction’s Tomlinson and Styles this week, why has One Direction’s team not countered the stories with stories of their own? The One Direction boys do a huge amount for charities, for example.
Did you ever wonder why the members of One Direction rarely say anything about their private lives? Many One Direction fans believe the answer is a very simple one. One Direction dare not deviate from the script that has been laid out for them.
As One Direction go into their hiatus there are already signs that they are distancing themselves from the current One Direction team. That may well mean that the negative rhetoric about One Direction is only just beginning.
One Direction fans will be watching with both interest and suspicion. Be assured those fans will not leave any stone unturned until we know the truth about One Direction. For the time being at least, many One Direction fans do not believe a word that is printed about One Direction.
[Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP]