Why are One Direction fans so mad at Liam Payne?

liam payne
John Phillips / Stringer / Getty Images

Former One Direction singer Liam Payne really stepped in it this week with an appearance on Jake Paul’s podcast, Inpaulsive, where he managed to alienate both his fans and his former band members. But while Payne may have to deal with the latter fallout privately, for now, fans are absolutely making it clear that there is no love lost for Payne.

Dishing on behind-the-scenes drama

Why Payne, who is worth an estimated at £47 million, would even go on Paul’s podcast to begin with was extremely suspect. But while there, the 28-year-old managed to spill vague tea about a decade-old altercation in which one of his former band members allegedly threw him up against a wall – claiming that he reacted with the laughable threat: “If you don’t remove those hands there’s a high likelihood you’ll never use them again.”

During his visit to the studio, Payne also talked smack about Zayn Malik, who famously left the group in 2015. While he said that there are many reasons he “dislikes” Zayne, he also said that there are “many reasons why I’ll always, always be on his side,” which he attributed to the pair’s contrasting upbringings.

“If I had had to go through what he went through, his growth and whatever else … My parents are overly supportive to the point where it’s annoying at times,” he explained. “Zayn had a different upbringing in that sense.”

Questionable claims about album sales

However, what may be the most outlandish claims Payne made in the interview were also the most easily disproven. At one point during the conversation, he claimed to have “outsold everybody within the band,” which is a dubious enough claim as it is until you remember that the band also produced Harry Styles, who has an upcoming sold-out stint at Wembley Stadium in a few weeks.

In fact, though Payne’s 2017 single “Strip That Down” featuring Quavo, has managed to score over 886 million streams on Spotify and over 365 million hits on YouTube, reaching number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and three on the UK Singles Chart, it’s come nowhere near eclipsing the solo efforts of some of his former bandmates. As it stands, Payne isn’t even the third most successful former One Direction artist, as Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, and Niall Horan have all had albums top the Billboard 200 charts.

Meanwhile, Payne’s most recent album, 2019’s LP1, debuted to middling reviews and a comparatively humiliating number 111 on the Billboard 200.

Cheating scandal with ex-fiancée, Maya Henry

Although this wasn’t so much a factor in the interview itself, just a week before Payne made himself persona non grata with fans over the Jake Paul interview, it was reported that he and his on-again, off-again fiancée Maya Henry had split up amid cheating rumors. Specifically, a fan account posted a series of closeup images supposedly of Henry and Payne, which the 21-year-old model quickly clarified in a comment.

“I love all of the fans so much but please stop sending me these pictures of my fiancé wrapped around another woman,” Henry wrote. “This is not me and it’s hard enough knowing this has happened without seeing it. Enough now.”

Yet another takeaway from Payne’s interview was that he told Paul that he would like to step into the boxing ring, and even suggested Justin Bieber as a potential opponent. Amid the controversy, TikTok influencer turned aspiring boxer Bryce Hall tweeted: “Fuck it I’m down to fight Liam Payne.”

Not long after, Henry posted the following video to her own TikTok account, unequivocally announcing that she’s “Team Bryce” – a trend that started on TikTok last year as Hall was preparing to fight YouTuber Austin McBroom. (Hall lost by TKO.)

@mayahenry

On goddd🙅🏻‍♀️

♬ original sound – breezy

Fan reactions

In light of [gestures broadly], all of that, Payne has been taking another kind of beating on social media, as fans can’t wrap their heads around the complete audacity.

First, there were jokes and speculation about exactly who threw Payne up against the wall.

Others took Payne to task about his claims that he was the most successful solo member of One Direction.

Others were more savage, calling him an “alcoholic absentee father who cheats on 19 year olds and uses a dead boy band for attention because his solo career flopped.” Ouch.

Another user said that she deosn’t blame Malik for leaving the band, as, if she “had to deal with Liam Payne almost daily i’d want out too.”

Yet another user sarcastically thanked Payne for destroying any hope of a One Direction reunion.

Maybe the rest of the band can stage the reunion without him? Or hey, there are always holograms. It might be pricey to get Payne to sign over his likeness, but it sounds like it would be more than worth it.