Pop band One Direction are constantly under a microscopic lens in the media. Now, a leaked video of two members from the group have torn their fan base apart, bringing up questions of how teen idols truly act behind the scenes. In the clip released by the Daily Mail, members Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik; 22 and 21, respectively, are seen smoking marijuana while being driven to one of their concerts in Peru. Shot late last month, the video also shows Tomlinson taunting nearby police escorts, as one of their minders question if they are allowed to mention “contraband” in an upcoming book by the band. Whether or not one believes that the conversation in the video or the actions by Tomlinson and Malik are misguided, the two members of One Direction have added fuel to an already burning fire regarding their moments of clouded judgment calls.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time One Direction have been caught smoking marijuana. About one year ago, while the group took some personal time on a yacht in Miami, both Tomlinson and Malik were captured smoking “rolled up cigarettes” that were alluded to be “joints”. The story did not get much traction. Fans of another pop act, Justin Bieber, wondered why their idol was constantly lambasted in the media for his use of marijuana and alleged other substances, while the popular five-some were not. It should be mentioned that the other three members of the group; Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, all age 20, were not seen in any of the video or pictures released in either instance.
The consensus seems to be mixed this time around. Some of the One Direction fan base, known as “Directioners”, are sweeping this moment under the rug. Others are upset after seeing their idols involved in such a scandal. There is also mention that Tomlinson may be using racial slurs as he converses with Malik and their minders in the video. However, that has yet to be confirmed and the word he uses could simply be part of a British slang term, which has no connections to anything racial. Either way, the judgment call of both members during what happened in April could cause a mass of damage for the entire group.
There are now claims that not only could they be arrested, but that arrest could bar them from re-entering America. Plans to continue on with their current tour, Where We Are, could end almost immediately. Whether or not that comes to pass is unknown. However, the whirlwind of consequences can be heavy and long lasting for One Direction.
Just two days ago, member Niall Horan organized a charity football match for autism. With members of his famous group joining in the match alongside Piers Morgan and others, he managed to raise nearly £300,000 , which converts to about $510,000. The group has always participated in many charitable organizations throughout their four-year long career, but this misstep can completely erase all of the good that they have accomplished to this point.
Furthermore, One Direction is mostly seen as a group targeted toward a young audience, even though all members are above the age of 18. The parents of those young fans may feel that they no longer want their children associated with them. Even if the video and pictures were of two members of One Direction, the entire group can suffer the consequences. They may never have been as “squeaky clean” as they play out on stages and music videos, but they have never been this dirty, at least by most media standards.
One would think that as part of the biggest boy band in the world, the young men would take time and understand how unbecoming moments like this could change how they are perceived in the public eye. In the leaked video, Tomlinson openly questions if what he is doing could possibly come back to haunt him. The clouded judgment of the One Direction members has now done exactly what the young man feared. Be that as it may, if he truly was worried, perhaps the smartest thing to do would be to turn the camera off.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown