Zayn Malik Misses Today Concert, Matt Lauer Slammed For Asking One Direction About “Substance Abuse” Rumors (VIDEO)
Zayn Malik’s absence from One Direction’s big “Today Show” concert on Monday not only disappointed fans, but also raised eyebrows. As Gossip Cop reported, the band was in Orlando to celebrate the release of their new album Four with a show at Universal Studios, but only Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan took part, explaining that Malik had a “tummy bug.” See the video below.
The “Today Show” first revealed Malik wouldn’t be present via Twitter, tweeting messages throughout the early morning hours like, “Where is Zayn this morning? We will get the details from @OneDirection, coming up,” and “.@OneDirection takes over TODAY — but where’s Zayn Malik?” And Matt Lauer, at Universal Resort to interview the group, wrote on his own Twitter account, “Where’s Zayn? One Direction arrives in Orlando without him. Plenty of questions, but the show goes on Today,” along with “Getting ready to watch @onedirection rehearse for the show. Zayn didn’t make the trip to Orlando. We’ll ask why before they play. #1DTODAY.”
That was, of course, more than enough to worry fans, both the thousands that were in Florida for the concert, and the millions more at home who were eagerly and anxiously awaiting the concert to be broadcast. When the time finally did come, Styles, Payne, Tomlinson and Horan arrived at Citywalk’s Lagoon stage via boat, and then took their seats for an interview. Lauer immediately pointed out that there were only four chairs for the guys, instead of the typical five, and said, “Let’s start with the obvious. Where’s Zayn?”
Payne responded that Malik had a “tummy bug so he’s not very well,” further revealing, “We only found out this morning so we’re really sad, he is as well, that he can’t be here for our album release.” That answer didn’t appear to satisfy Lauer who pressed further, saying, “Liam, there’s obviously a lot of concern, a lot of fans have been tweeting overnight, there’s been a lot of action on social media about him. Is it something more serious than just a minor illness? There have been rumors of substance abuse. What’s going on?”
Payne shot the question down, replying, “No, he’s just got a stomach bug. He’s okay. He’s just at home. He just needs to rest. He’s okay.” Lauer’s “substance abuse” question took many by surprise, particularly since it put Payne on the spot and didn’t actually seem to be rumored this morning at all. As Gossip Cop reported back in May, a video leaked in which Malik and Tomlinson were smoking pot, and that may have been the unstated basis for the news anchor’s query. It certainly wasn’t what Directioners were thinking, though, and they took to Twitter to slam Lauer.
One fan wrote, “God forbid Zayn was struggling with substance abuse did this guy think the boys would admit and talk about such a serious issue on live tv?” Another angrily tweeted, “oh no don’t bother asking if zayn is ALRIGHT just ask personal questions like if he has an illness or substance abuse!!!!!!!”
“don’t ask zayn if he has a substance abuse problem ask yourself why your hairline starts in the middle of your head,” said another Twitter user targeting Lauer. A different fan wrote, “I really can’t believe they even brought up zayn and substance abuse like HE IS A REGULAR PERSON WHO GETS SICK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE SHUT UP.”
The timing of Malik’s illness, however, isn’t great. The concert had been hyped for weeks, as had the release of Four, with promo activities, song snippets, and teaser videos all leading up to today. And One Direction still has another major gig to get through. As Gossip Cop previously reported, the band will perform a private concert at Universal on Tuesday, a performance that will be taped and broadcast on NBC on December 23 as the first-ever primetime 1D special in the United States. Gossip Cop has reached out to a rep for One Direction to find out if Malik will be well enough to travel and take part by tomorrow. Check out the video below, and tell us what you think of the situation. Note: Video no longer available.