One Direction’s Zayn Malik has responded to a comment made by Matt Lauer on yesterday morning’s special episode of the Today Show, held in Orlando. When Malik was unable to perform with the group due to an illness, Lauer asked his bandmates if substance abuse was to blame.
When they sat down for the interview, fellow member Liam Payne explained the situation right off the bat. “Yeah, he’s got a tummy bug so he’s not very well at the moment, so he couldn’t make it,” he told Lauer. “We only found out this morning, so we’re really sad and he is as well that he can’t be here for our album release. But it’s still going to be a great day, I’m sure.”
Lauer pressed on with questions like “Is it something more serious than just a minor illness? There have been rumors of substance abuse – what’s going on?” Payne reiterated, “No, he’s just got a stomach bug, he’s okay. He’s just at home. He needs to rest. He’s okay,” adding, “We aren’t One Direction without Zayn.”
Malik, who was also absent from One Direction’s recent MTV EMA acceptance videos, has now spoken out about the confusion. “I’m really angry and upset by what was said on the Today show,” he said. “I was really ill at the weekend, that’s why I couldn’t fly to America. I was gutted to have to miss album release day, but I’m going to be back as soon as I can. As soon as I’m feeling better, I’m going to join the guys and carry on with the promotion for the album.”
Lauer has not yet responded to Malik and has not been present on Twitter since prior to the interview, when he posted the following two tweets: “Where’s Zayn? One Direction arrives in Orlando without him. Plenty of questions, but the show goes on Today,” and “Getting ready to watch One Direction rehearse for the show. Zayn didn’t make the trip to Orlando. We’ll ask why before they play.”
Some fans have noted that Lauer probably could have addressed these questions internally before interview, rather than taking to Twitter. Following the show, the hashtag #GetWellSoonZayn began trending worldwide.