One Direction star Liam Payne has been back in the headlines over the past couple of weeks. Payne largely disappeared after One Direction completed the promotional tour for their fifth album, Made In The A.M., and after Liam had dropped out of sight for a few weeks, fans started to fret. Whilst there had been some sightings of Payne on both sides of the Atlantic, Liam was largely invisible on social media and his fans missed him. Payne is usually pretty vocal on social media, though he does have a tendency to disappear for a few weeks at a time.
On this occasion, Liam re-emerged when he was linked with former X-Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. Of course, many One Direction fans get suspicious when Liam or any of the boys is linked with a new lady, especially when, as in this case, the lady in question is 10-years his senior, married, and has just signed with Modest Management. Many One Direction fans believe that the reported romance between Liam and Cheryl is the latest in a long line of publicity stunts, and the timing of the romance is viewed with a huge degree of skepticism.
The fact is that at the beginning of November, the Daily Mail was reporting that Payne was “devastated and heartbroken” after splitting with Sophia Smith. The Sun, when they broke claims of Liam and Cheryl’s relationship, claimed that the couple had been dating since the beginning of December, just weeks after Payne was supposedly heartbroken. Of course, many One Direction fans also believe that Payne’s relationship with Smith was also a PR stunt.
As reported in the Inquisitr last week, the Sun rather oddly debunked their own story by reporting that Payne’s romance with Cheryl was, indeed, a publicity stunt. The source of the Sun’s story was none other than Cheryl’s husband, and many of Liam’s fans are convinced that Payne is once again being used as a prop for someone else’s career.
Of course, Liam’s fans are perfectly entitled to their view, but some fans seem unable to voice their views in a balanced and thoughtful way. The Mirror reports today that Payne has hit out at fans who have attacked both him and Cheryl after Liam posted a photograph on Instagram in which he described Cheryl as his “favorite woman in the world.”
After posting the photo both Liam and Cheryl were subjected to a torrent of online abuse from “so-called” One Direction fans. One fan even accused Payne of disrespecting his mother.
“I almost want him to get dumped real bad to get some sense knocked into his brain like ‘my fav woman = Cheryl’ where your mom at bro who carried your ass in her belly for 9 f***ing months. The disrespect is real.”
Payne responded to the haters by posting on Twitter to say that “the internet is a dark place these days.” One fan asked Liam if this was why he rarely posts on social media at present and Payne confirmed that he finds that “pretty much anything I say is held against me kinda takes the fun out of it”.
Wow the Internet is a dark place these days ????????????— Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) March 8, 2016
Sadly, this is far from the first time that Payne has been attacked on social media. Liam was slaughtered by some after what many One Direction fans saw as controversial comments in an interview in Attitude last year. The Daily Mail reported that Payne had to lash out at fans who sent him a barrage of hate after he made comments during that interview that challenged their view of the world.
Perhaps ironically, Payne had also been attacked as being homophobic just a few days before the interview with the leading gay magazine.
Of course, the vast majority of Liam and One Direction’s fans are kind, thoughtful, and respectful people, but there can be little doubt that the One Direction fandom has a very ugly side. That small group of fans will happily attack anyone who challenges what they believe they know. As Payne knows all too well, even being a member of One Direction is no protection.
Most One Direction fans despise the ugly underbelly of the fandom, but it still seems to thrive. Liam Payne and his bandmates are in a no-win situation. When they post to social media, they are often attacked. When they stay off social media, they are hounded for keeping quiet. Who would blame Payne for withdrawing from social media permanently?
[Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]