Even though Zayn Malik recently abandoned their favorite band, One Direction fans still support the solo singer. After seeing Bill Maher compare Zayn to a terrorist, thousands of Directioners took to Twitter to demand #RespectForZayn.
Many One Direction fans probably had no idea who Bill Maher was before seeing a video clip of a recent Real Time segment that's making the rounds online. During his HBO show, Maher likened Zayn Malik to Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The comedian pretended to be saddened about Zayn's decision to leave One Direction, but he didn't compare the singer's departure to a terrorist act -- instead he made a joke about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sharing similar hairstyles and dark features by posting side-by-side photos of the singer and the coldblooded killer.
"Just tell me two things, Zayn. Which one in the band were you? And where were you during the Boston Marathon?" Bill Maher quips in the video below.
The clip was shared on Gossip Cop, and it quickly went viral after upset Directioners started sharing it.
Because Zayn Malik and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are both Muslim, many One Direction fans assumed that Maher was mocking his religion by comparing him to a terrorist. Maher is an atheist who isn't afraid to attack any religion on his show, so there's a chance his joke was meant to take aim at Zayn's Islamic faith.
Zayn Malik and Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev have something else surprising in common -- they both have legions of love-struck teen fans. According to the New York Post, thousands of teen girls have confessed to crushing on the Boston Marathon Bomber. These groupies refuse to believe that he killed three people, and they even write steamy fan-fiction about the terrorist. Perhaps Maher's Malik/Dzhokhar comparison was also partly inspired by the fan worship they have both inspired.
Zayn Malik's own army of online supporters managed to get the hashtag #RespectforZayn trending on Twitter, and they shared their thoughts about Bill Maher mocking Malik. Some lobbed death threats at the political satirist, some painted Zayn as the most perfect human being on the planet, and some labeled Maher a racist.
YOU CAN MAKE FUN OF US AND CALL US IMMATURE AND STUPID BUT MAKING FUN OF ZAYNS RELIGION ISNT RIGHT AND ITS NOT FUNNY #RespectForZayn
— LARRY AF (@1991_Styles) April 5, 2015
I hope @billmaher is feeling the wrath of 1,000s of teenage girls in his mentions for his vile racist "joke" calling Zayn Malik a terrorist
— lana del neigh (@LanaDelNeigh_) April 5, 2015
If Zayn's a terrorist,then I am terrorist too.get some life please! #RespectForZayn
— Ayesha (@FabulouislyTris) April 5, 2015
#RespectForZayn he saved millions of people...the last time i searched for the word terrorist it means a person who murders people
— TILL THE END (@directioneryk) April 5, 2015
To hell with those who call Zayn a terrorist,although he's broken my heart but I'll always be there to support him #RespectForZayn
— Ayesha (@FabulouislyTris) April 5, 2015
"@marryingnjh: "@ziallasdfghjk: He deserves to die what he said was not okay #RespectForZayn pic.twitter.com/dl9BNmtlOs" I'll kill him"
— louis (@ns_almighty) April 5, 2015
Zayn is always there to help those people who are in needs. Please stop calling him a terrorist. #RespectForZayn pic.twitter.com/6xk7JyPorw
— Arianneee (@ItsMeYhanah) April 5, 2015
you're totally rude by making disrespect jkes. Its sad when instead of helping stop racism we actually spread it even more #RespectForZayn
— منال (@man4l__) April 5, 2015
ZAYN IS AN GREEK GOD, HE'S NOT A "terrorist", grow up @billmaher #RespectForZayn #RespectForAllMuslims
— Demon. (@Psychodemoon7) April 5, 2015
"What's the difference between zayn & superhero?" He has saved more lives #RespectForZayn pic.twitter.com/TAnopJCc9R
— amy loves zjm ପଓ*•˚ (@izaynielove) April 5, 2015
Zayn is an absolute angel. The behaviour of Bill Maher was utterly disgusting. #RespectForZayn #RespectForAllMuslims pic.twitter.com/X8lSRAgVSe
— Till the end ∞ (@xadorablewordsx) April 5, 2015
This isn't the first time a TV comedian has drawn the ire of One Direction fans. According to E! News, Directioners assumed that correspondent Jessica Williams was comparing Zayn Malik to a terrorist during a 2014 segment of The Daily Show. However, she never mentioned Zayn by name -- she simply joked about the formation of a new terrorist super group featuring "one member each from ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, Hamas, One Direction, and the Zetas drug cartel." One Direction fans quickly responded by calling for Jon Stewart's head on Twitter.
Zayn Malik recently discovered that the transition to going solo isn't going to be a smooth one -- as the Inquisitr previously reported, he lost over 50,000 Twitter followers after his solo track with Naughty Boy was posted on Soundcloud. Some One Direction fans may never forgive him for leaving the band, and many will likely continue to protest his departure by refusing to acknowledge his solo career.
However, at least Zayn Malik got one last taste of what it's like to have millions of obsessive boy band fans fighting on his behalf. He better enjoy the social media attention while he can -- once One Direction fans go through the grieving process and move on, he may never trend on Twitter again.
[Image credit: HBO]