On May 31, Liam Payne and Logan Paul’s interview on Logan’s podcast Impaulsive set the Internet fire. Liam’s career started on X Factor in 2010 when he joined Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik to form one of the decade’s most iconic boy bands: One Direction. For five years, the boys created music from “What Makes You Beautiful” to “Night Changes” that took over the hearts of young girls and created an unwavering fanbase (where are my Directioners at?). Then, in 2015, the boys started to part ways to focus on their individual careers when Zayn announced he would be leaving the band. Liam went on to create music of his own, with songs such as “Strip That Down” and “Sunshine.”
The boys parting ways left One Direction stans in utter heartbreak, so of course, many fans tuned in to the podcast to hear what Liam had to say about his former singing partners. And it’s safe to say that fans were not happy. After his appearance on the podcast, Liam is facing backlash for comments he made about the group’s dynamic, his own success, and particularly Zayn’s exit from the group.
Some fans are saying Liam’s career is flopping, and others are claiming they don’t blame Zayn for leaving the band because they wouldn’t want to deal with Liam either. It’s also worth noting that this interview happened amid a scandal in which Liam has been accused of cheating on his ex Maya Henry with Aliana Mawla, exacerbating his fall from grace in the public opinion.
Here’s a breakdown of some of Liam’s messiest and most shocking comments from the interview that are leaving One Direction stans hurt just like they were in 2015.
1. Liam wasn’t used to “rowdy” guys — like Louis Tomlinson.
Just 15 minutes into the interview, Liam said he wasn’t exactly excited to be a part of a boy band because he wasn’t used to “rowdy” guys. Logan Paul then asked him who was rowdy and Payne had no problem pointing fingers at Louis Tomlinson, and he then said that the two hated one another while they were in One Direction. Though he added that they are best friends now, he failed to get along with Tomlinson and the others during their years as a group. This comment confused fans, because not too long ago Liam was saying Louis hasn’t answered his text back in months. So which one is it: best mates or frenemies?
2. There are “many reasons” why he dislikes Zayn Malik.
When discussing past beef from 2020 between Zayn Malik and Jake Paul (Logan’s brother), Logan said that Zayn’s ex Gigi Hadid tweeted a rebuttal at Jake, saying something along the lines of “Get yourself a respectful man.” Liam then dissed Zayn by saying that the tweet “didn’t age well,” alluding to Zayn and Gigi’s split and past tension between Zayn and Gigi’s mother, Yolanda Hadid. Liam tried explaining this comment by saying there are many reasons why he dislikes Zayn… but also many reasons why he’ll always be on his side. Some fans are saying Liam’s comments are contradictory due to his own alleged cheating rumors, and are upset that he’s being disrespectful towards his former bandmate.
3. Liam claimed Zayn’s upbringing is the reason for his actions.
After talking about his dislike for Zayn Malik, Liam brought up Zayn’s childhood, saying that Zayn didn’t have support growing up and that he has been through a lot. Fans were disappointed, to say the least, that Liam would talk about something so private in such a public setting. One fan even called out Liam for reinforcing stereotypes of people of color being “violent.”
4. One member allegedly threw Liam up against a wall during a fight.
When asked about tension among the group, Liam said the boys got very close to getting into blows. He then explained a situation where a bandmate threw him up against a wall backstage. In response, Liam threatened the bandmate, saying, “If you don’t remove those hands, there’s a high likelihood you’ll never use them again.” Though this came as a shock to many Directioners (Liam used to be known as the “sensible one” in the group, remember?), some fans have jokingly said they want the boys to fight Liam for his petty remarks.
5. He insisted that he outsold all the boys once he went solo.
In 2017, Liam Payne released his debut single “Strip That Down.” On the podcast, he said the single outsold everyone else in the band. However, fans quickly shut this down by pulling out receipts of other bandmates releasing songs that topped his, such as Harry’s “Watermelon Sugar” and Zayn’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.”
6. He said that Simon Cowell made One Direction because of him.
Before One Direction was formed, Liam was actually on X Factor two years earlier in 2008, but was eliminated. On the podcast, Liam claims that judge Simon Cowell — who had the initial idea to form the boys into a group after they all auditioned solo — made One Direction as a “promise” to him to make up for his elimination two years prior. He then went on to say that Simon “kind of started with my face and worked out around the rest” and called himself “the honorary member of One Direction.” In other words, he basically insinuated that he was the sole reason for One Direction — and all the other members’ careers. Liam told Logan he had never shared this with anyone before.
From trashing his ex-bandmates to exaggerating his success, Liam has dug himself a hole that only Directioners — if they decide to support him, which doesn’t seem likely — can get him out of.