Fatherhood hasn’t been drama-free for Louis Tomlinson. Tomlinson, a singer in One Direction, has been enjoying the hiatus life – growing a dad-bod, guest-judging on America’s Got Talent, managing a girl group – but Tomlinson revealed Monday that hateful trolls had been targeting him on popular messaging app WhatsApp. The fed-up Tomlinson tweeted that he was going to change his number due to the “disgusting stuff” he was receiving, and called the trolls “losers.” Tomlinson’s vocabulary seems to have become a lot more child-friendly now that he’s a dad!
Time to change my number .. Getting some disgusting stuff on what's app... Losers !— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) August 15, 2016
Louis Tomlinson’s fellow bandmate Niall Horan reached out over Twitter to share that he was receiving some of the same abuse. In a reply to Tomlinson, Horan called the messages “horrific,” though neither Tomlinson nor Horan commented further on the nature of what they had received.
@Louis_Tomlinson me too mate . Horrific Some of the things people are saying .— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 16, 2016
Thankfully, Tomlinson and Horan seemed to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Tomlinson suggested that he and Horan challenge the trolls to a rap battle – maybe a future One Direction spinoff project is in the works? Perhaps Tomlinson and Horan can collaborate on a new single called “WhatsApp Makes You Beautiful.”
@NiallOfficial maybe we should challenge them to a rap battle and destroy them in 64 bars ?— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) August 16, 2016
Unfortunately, it’s likely that the abuse toward Tomlinson and Horan is coming from so-called One Direction fans. While most are ultimately respectful and kind, some – like the ones who targeted Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan – have more malicious intent. It’s unclear how these particular trolls got access to Tomlinson and Horan’s WhatsApp information, but it can be majorly unsettling to find out that private information has been made public. Later, Horan exasperatedly asked, “I wonder when they’ll stop annoying us?” Though only Tomlinson and Horan have recently spoken out about trolls, bandmates Harry Styles and Liam Payne have also received their share of abuse.
I wonder when they'll stop annoying us !— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 16, 2016
The abuse Tomlinson was receiving hit close to home for Horan for another equally depressing reason. This isn’t the only disturbing thing fans have done to Niall Horan recently – earlier in August, the Irish singer tweeted angrily about a fan who took a picture of him without his permission. The fan, whose identity is unknown, wrote that she “sat directly next to Niall from One Direction for 9 hours on my flight home from London last night. He was sick and asked for no selfies, but here is a pic I snapped when he was sleeping lol he was so friendly!” Horan shared the picture to his 26 million Twitter followers, calling the behavior “unreal.”
I think this shit is unreal. I mean if you can't sleep on a plane without people taking photos of you,what can u do pic.twitter.com/3UvgLpHOcE— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 2, 2016
Thankfully, the fans leaped into action to defend Tomlinson and Horan, and they got #RespectLouis trending on Twitter soon after. Trending hashtags is a common occurrence for One Direction fans, and it was a quick and easy way for them to reach out to Tomlinson. The fans showed their support for Tomlinson and Horan with gifs and funny messages. Here are some of the best tweets defending Tomlinson:
#RespectLouis— Alice (@talice965) August 16, 2016
How did people find out his number? I can't even find my mom at the grocery store.
The joke about a rap battle just proves these boys know how to handle the horrible people and they don't let it effect them #RespectLouis— Ruth // NIALL PLS (@pop_ruth) August 16, 2016
Some tweets even imagined what an imaginary rap battle starring Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan would look like. Tomlinson and Horan have never rapped before on a track, but there’s a first time for everything!
Of course, frequent One Direction collaborator Ben Winston couldn’t resist the opportunity to do some cross-promotion on Tomlinson’s tweet. Winston, who is known for directing both One Direction’s best (“Best Song Ever”) and worst (“You & I”) music videos, is now a current executive at The Late Late Show with James Corden. In a reply to Tomlinson, Winston suggested that the boys bring their beef to Drop the Mic, a new TBS spinoff of a popular Late Late Show segment.
If Tomlinson and Horan made an appearance on Drop the Mic, this would be their third collaboration with Corden. Tomlinson and Horan, with their fellow One Direction bandmates, previously appeared on another popular Late Late Show segment: “Carpool Karaoke.”
Of course, it would also be completely understandable of Tomlinson and Horan didn’t want to return – the last time they were on the show, a member of the band was forced to get a tattoo in a stressful game of Tattoo Roulette.
[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]