One Direction 'joint' video: has boyband wrecked its appeal?
Fans burn their tickets, as critics warn the boys are heading in a 'distinctly downward direction'
One Direction star Harry Styles is reportedly furious that his band-mates Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik have risked the future of the boyband with a leaked video showing them apparently smoking a joint.
In footage obtained by the Daily Mail, 22-year-old Tomlinson and 21-year-old Malik make several references to marijuana as they smoke a roll-up cigarette in a car in Peru.
The band's three other members – Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne – are thought to have been in a separate car at the time.
The video has prompted some fans to rip up or burn their 1D concert tickets, while drug charities and parent groups have turned on the stars for failing to take "real responsibility as role models" to their millions of young fans. A spokesman for the band has said the "matter is in the hands of our lawyers".
The Mail claims the boyband's journey has headed in a "distinctly downward direction" over the last four years. While possession of a small amount of cannabis is not illegal in Peru, the newspaper warns that they could face a ban from the US just weeks before they are set to tour the country on a sell-out nationwide tour.
But not everyone has such a bleak outlook for One Direction's future. In The Guardian, Dave Simpson says: "There may be trouble ahead, not least from parents, but it will clearly take more than a whiff of scandal to blunt 1D's appeal." The world's biggest-selling boy band are the "glaring exception" to the theory that pop music doesn't mean as much to young people as it used to, he says.
Reporting from the band's gig in Sunderland last night, Simpson notes that the boys generated such hysteria among the crowd of 52,000 that even the on-stage technician received "a welcome like Beatlemania".
Meanwhile, Tony Parsons says "squeaky" boys Malik and Tomlinson are victims of a digital age. Neither are likely to go the way of Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix, he says in The Sun. "I would cheerfully predict that both of them would put their spliffs aside before they reach 25 and pick up an e-cigarette... What's different these days is that every youthful idiocy is filmed and shared with the world. You can't get away with anything these days."
"Their clean-cut image may have gone up in smoke," it says. "But One Direction's credibility will scale new heights."