Zayn Malik Misses One Direction Today Show Appearance; Matt Lauer Booed For Inquiry

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One Direction was minus one key group member this morning.

During an appearance on The Today Show, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan sat across from Matt Lauer and answered questions about their new music, but not before Lauer asked about the whereabouts of Zayn Malik.

Payne said that Malik had a “tummy bug so he’s not very well. 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.”

But this simple answer didn't seem to satisfy Lauer, who followed up with an unexpected inquiry.

"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," Lauer asked. "Is it something more serious than just a minor illness? There have been rumors of substance abuse. What’s going on?"

Fans booed Lauer as soon as he finished his question, which clearly took Payne aback.

"No, he’s just got a stomach bug. He’s okay. He’s just at home. He just needs to rest. He’s okay," Payne replied.

Aside from a video of Malik and Tomlinson smoking pot in May, there haven't been rumors of Malik abusing any substances.

There didn't appear to be much evidence of any kind behind Lauer's strange question, which, as you might expect, led many One Direction fans to slam Lauer on social media.

"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?” wrote on Twitter user, while another asked:

“oh no don’t bother asking if zayn is ALRIGHT just ask personal questions like if he has an illness or substance abuse!!!!!!!"

One Direction 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 One Direction special in the United States.

Let's hope Malik is feeling strong enough to take part.

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