Matt Lauer Grills One Direction on Zayn Malik's Rumored Drug Abuse, Gets Booed by Fans


One Direction
swung by The Today Show on Monday morning to promote the release of their new album, Four -- out today!

The boys arrived to the set in Orlando, Fla. via boat, but one member was strangely missing -- Zayn Malik.

Getty Images

Prior to the boys’ appearance, Matt Lauer revealed that Malik wouldn’t be present via Twitter when he posted, "Where's Zayn? One Direction arrives in Orlando without him. Plenty of questions, but the show goes on Today."

Curious "Directioners" flocked to the Internet
to voice their concern over Zayn's absence, causing Lauer to kick-off his interview with the band by asking about the missing singer.

Lauer pointed out that there were only four chairs set-up on the stage, and asked, "Let’s start with the obvious. Where’s Zayn?"

Liam Payne took the reigns, revealing that their bandmate had a "tummy bug," adding, “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... It’s still going to be a great day, I’m sure.”

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This answer wasn't enough for Lauer though, who pushed the conversation to a surprising place. Matt said, “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 answered the question, reiterating, “No, he’s just got a stomach bug. He’s okay. He’s just at home. He just needs to rest. He’s okay.”

The question shocked fans in the audience though, and they erupted in loud “boos,” as Matt's question seemed unwarranted given the fact there haven't been any drug-related rumors surrounding Zayn recently. However, this past May, a video showing Zayn and his bandmate Louis Tomlinson allegedly smoking marijuana surfaced.

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Matt’s question must have bothered the fans more than the band, as Harry Instagrammed a behind-the-scenes photo and captioned it, "Thank you to @todayshow for having us this morning. You're always very nice."

Thank you to @todayshow for having us this morning. You're always very nice.

Una foto publicada por @harrystyles el

Watch the video above to see Matt ask 1D about Zayn!

What do you think!? Was Matt Lauer's question unwarranted?! Or, did he have every right to ask that question?! Talk with @Katie__Krause on Twitter -- and include #ETnow in your tweet!