One Direction's Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik joint video: Band in ‘racism row’ after allegedly saying derogatory word
Tomlinson came under fire for appearing to say the word "n*g" – a shortened version of the N-word – as well as using "gay" in a derogatory way
Questions over whether One Direction are set to lose millions in sponsorship deals have been raised a second time after a leaked video of Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik smoking a “joint” surfaced yesterday.
Further to claims the pair had smoked marijuana – which is legal in Peru, where they were travelling to a concert on 27 April at the time the footage was filmed – it has now been alleged that Tomlinson also used a racial slur.
The 22-year-old singer came under fire for appearing to say the word “n*g” – a shortened version of the N-word Jeremy Clarkson was recently blasted for mumbling.
“It’s green only, n*g,” he appears to say to Malik, discussing their apparent drug taking in a comedy accent.
In the longer version of the video, the pair also appear to use the word “gay” in a derogatory fashion in a conversation about their merchandise.
Malik describes the band’s official book as “boring crap” and “weird”, while Tomlinson labels it “gay”.
“Yeah and f**king really girly and just not cool,” Malik adds.
Their comments have sparked a backlash from senior MPs and anti-racism campaigners, who fear their use of “unacceptable” language may encourage young fans to adopt similar phrases.
“They are adored by many people and they have a responsibility to set an example,” John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, told The Mail.
“People look up to them and admire them. If they have said this, they should make it clear that they accept they said it. They have got to understand that use of terms like this is very offensive to people.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “For black or gay kids to hear these terms bandied about can be really hurtful.
“They should not be using words that have prejudiced connotations. It’s really important for pop stars to avoid language that is racist or homophobic. Their words have influence and impact.”
“One Direction need to get their meaning straight when they say the word ‘gay’,” Luke Tryl, head of education at Stonewall, added.
Since the footage has leaked, One Direction fans have been divided in their reactions. While some burned their tickets - and posted the evidence on Twitter – in protest, others flooded the social media site with messages of support for the pair, who they affectionately labelled “Zouis”.
Tomlinson and Malik successfully navigated another date of their world tour, too, this time taking to the stage at Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light last night (27 May). They came away unscathed and un-heckled.
They could, however, run into trouble during their tour of America between 4 August and 5 October. The United States has particularly strict anti-drugs laws in place for immigration, and recently barred chef Nigella Lawson from entering the country after her admission that she once took cocaine during her court appearance in December 2013.
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