Directioners and Mixers aren’t too happy with Liam Payne right now, and it’s all because of his TikTok livestream from Dec. 15. The singer talked about several topics during his chat with fans, but none so controversial as the recent news that Little Mix lost one of its beloved vocalists. Liam Payne’s quotes comparing Jesy Nelson to Zayn Malik included an off-handed joke characterizing her departure from Little Mix as similar to Malik’s from One Direction, that has stans everywhere furrowing their brows.
While some fans have given Payne the benefit of the doubt, writing on Twitter that he was "joking" and "recovered well" from his shade concerning Malik’s departure from One Direction in August 2015, a good number are still bothered by the initial lighthearted tone of his Dec. 15 livestream.
He started out addressing Nelson’s highly-publicized Dec. 14 split from Little Mix with a comment he likely now regrets, stating she "Zayn-ed out" of The X Factor-made band. He instantly backtracked, saying, "No, let’s be serious," and moved on to address the gravity of the mental health concerns surrounding her departure from the U.K. girl group, but the phrasing still struck some as insensitive.
The reason why Payne’s comment lingered is likely due in-part to the closeness of Little Mix and One Direction’s fanbases over the years, especially since Little Mix member Perrie Edwards and Malik dated and were engaged from 2013 to 2015 during the groups’ initial surges in popularity. Both bands were U.K.-based, formed on The X Factor, and even were in talks to tour together at one point in 2014.
Payne’s initial foot-in-mouth quip about Nelson’s exit aside, he actually had a lot of thoughtful insight into what she and Little Mix might be going through right now. "It’s always sad at this moment in time when bands get into that sort of thing. Having been there myself, I felt like Zayn left for pretty much the same reasons in a weird way," he stated.
Malik’s departure from One Direction was unfortunately the beginning of the end for the supergroup, despite releasing a fifth and final album as a quartet in November 2015. Little Mix has publicly stated they will move on as a trio without Nelson, but wished her all the best. Her departure appeared a lot more amicable to Mixers compared to Malik’s dramatic and sudden split from his band, and considering the fact that Nelson was already on a public appearance-related hiatus due to mental health concerns starting Nov. 18.
"No one really understands what’s going on or how it feels for some people," Payne said, wrapping up his comments.
A few Payne supporters replied to some of the initial ire from other Directioners and Mixers by claiming his "Zayn-ed out" quote was from him reading a comment, although it is not clear this was the case due to the continuous scroll of TikTok’s livestream comments section.
Regardless, he followed up what was an ill-timed joke with serious well wishes to Little Mix and Nelson, so we should all probably just relax and keep scrolling at this point. Or, we can enjoy some of the memes from fans about his chaotic livestream.
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