One Direction took to the stage for a performance on the Today show, but someone was missing from the fab five. Amid rumors of a substance abuse problems, member Zayn Malik was noticeably absent.
Before the guys hit the stage, Matt Lauer interviewed the boys, and that’s when he brought up the rumors surrounding Malik’s alleged substance abuse problems.
“Let’s start with the obvious. Where’s Zayn?”
Liam Payne was up for answering Lauer’s question with a simple response. According to Payne, Zayn had a “tummy bug so he’s not very well. We only found out this morning so we’re really sad, he is as well, that he can’t be here for our album release.”
Lauer, who didn’t buy the excuse decided to push on.
“Liam, there’s obviously a lot of concern, a lot of fans have been tweeting overnight, there’s been a lot of action on social media about him. Is it something more serious than just a minor illness? There have been rumors of substance abuse. What’s going on?”
Liam immediately jumped on this and gave the PR-friendly response of, “No, he’s just got a stomach bug. He’s okay. He’s just at home. He just needs to rest. He’s okay.”
Still, the Today show really harped on his absence, and even posted the question of his whereabouts on their official Twitter. Fans immediately slammed Lauer for his question.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 17, 2014
— Crystal. (@CrystalKylaa) November 17, 2014
— THE FOUR ERA (@LouisTomlickson) November 17, 2014
— katelyn (@ARCTICCLIFF0RD) November 17, 2014
According to the Mirror, a rep for One Direction echoed Liam’s statements.
“Zayn was taken ill after recording the Band Aid single at the weekend and was unfortunately not well enough to fly to the USA yesterday. He will join the band for promotion for the new album as soon as he possibly can.”
Due to this sudden press about Zayn, the hashtag #GetWellSoonZayn has started to trend.
it’s so sad to see zayn not being with the boys but if he really feels unwell he should just rest and get better! #GetWellSoonZayn
— thank you liam :) (@usedthelight) November 17, 2014
Knowing that Zayn is in pain makes me weak, because i cant do anything for him to get better :-( #GetWellSoonZayn
— ~Night Changes~ (@Niazkilam5SOS) November 17, 2014
one direction is not performing. niall, louis, liam, and harry are performing. its not one direction without zayn. #getwellsoonzayn
— morgan ˘◡˘ (@ahamorgan) November 17, 2014