Hello everyone!

So, recently I wrote an extended analysis on how Louis Tomlinson was mistreated when he was in One Direction.

(You can check it out here, if you'd like:)

And, as I mention in the introduction of that article, the reason why I’ve immersed myself so much into that specific topic lately is because now that I’m older I realize how terrible things were for the boys when they were in One Direction. Their record labels, Modest and Syco Music were responsible for causing them a lot of pain and even though most Directioners are already aware of this, I decided to list the main things that the boys went through just so that we don’t forget the sad part that was behind it all.

I think this is important to mention and to remember if you are part of the fandom (or even if you’re not) because sometimes people tend to ignore these things and deep down they are facts that can’t be forgotten and can’t be forgiven.

I won’t give very detailed explanations (as I did in the case of the Louis Tomlinson article) because this time I want to keep it short, but feel free to ask me any questions you may have through a message and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. Also, if you’re feeling curious about anything in particular google it and you may find valuable articles or YouTube videos on each subject.

Before we begin, here’s a little disclaimer: I’m not doing this to invalidate the good aspects of One Direction or to make it seem like everything in it was miserable (because of course it wasn’t), I’m just doing this to raise awareness about the things that weren’t too great; and to expose their management for the many things they did (overworking the boys, changing their personalities, affecting their self esteem and their health, etc).

Now, without further ado, let’s start.

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1. Zayn

First things first, we need to address Zayn’s departure... or more specifically, the reasons behind it.
Some people dislike Zayn after what he did because his withdrawal was (partially) the reason why the entire band crumbled down afterwards. Without a member things started getting complicated but I still think it wasn’t his fault.

I must confess that I don’t really like Zayn anymore but it’s not because of that (it’s because I think he is rude to the other boys now), but I completely respected his decision when he left and I even encouraged it; I think it was brave, because they were not being treated correctly and it had to stop somehow.
I’m not saying I’m particularly fond of the hiatus (actually, I would die to see all the boys together once more), but I think there was a good reason for it and, if they ever come back, I don’t want them to come back with the same management team and under the same conditions they were in.

So, the point is that Zayn is not a "traitor" or a "deserter", as some call him; he was just a sensible person who had had enough. I actually think he was a very introverted and emotional person who felt out of his confort zone and who needed to leave for the sake of his own mental health.

In the case of Zayn, he suffered from the following things:

- He began developing an eating disorder (this was because he felt like food was the only thing he had control over in his life, but also because he was feeling emotionally unstable most of the time, as he later confessed)
- He had a lot of anxiety (due to the amount of pressure they lived under)
- He felt like he wasn’t developing his true musical style and that he had nothing to do with the type of music that One Direction produced (he has said he always saw himself like an R&B soloist rather than a Pop-Rock boyband member)

I think this was easy to see in certain occasions:

- If you compare "before and after" pictures you can see his significant weight loss
- He felt embarrassed (or maybe just not-proud) of being in One Direction on certain interviews and occasions (and as much as it pains me to say so, it is a valid point because it simply wasn’t what he expected for his life)
- There’s a video in which he actually faints after giving a concert because he was exhausted (they barely rested) and because he was not eating properly and that, for me, says enough

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2. Liam

I think that out of all of them, Liam was always the most "professional" one; what I mean by that is that he always tried to stay calm and remain focused throughout everything. When something went wrong he was usually the one that kept quite and tried to think of a solution: from keeping it cool when something failed on stage to showing a straight face when he felt angry or sad.

However, this doesn’t mean that he didn’t suffer the same mistreatment as the others. Here’a bit of what Liam experienced:

- He had the most pressure at the beginning because he was given the biggest amount of solos during their first presentations
- He started struggling with alcohol (again derived from sadness, anxiety and frustation)
- He experienced loneliness in his personal life
- He felt extremely tired most of the time

Some key moments in understanding these issues are the following:

- He once had a picture taken of him on the roof of his penthouse (standing really close to the edge); he apologized for it, but it’s still proof that he was not feeling too well
- He admitted in an interview that he felt like (after being in One Direction) he only had money and professional success, but not love or someone to share things with
- On one occasion, he tweeted complaining about how they basically suffered from jet lag most of the time and constantly (almost daily), to the point where it became physically painful (this was because of how EXTREMELY overworked they were)

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3. Louis

Okay, so as I mentioned earlier I wrote a whole (and much more detailed) article specifically on Louis, but I’ll still mention the key points here, in case you prefer to skip that one.

Personally I think Louis was the most abused one -which is why I made a lot of emphasis on his case- and here’s why:

- He was forbidden to get too close to Harry, destroying their friendship (and, in case something else happened, whatever else they may have had)
- He was given little importance and solos during their first presentations as a band (Mostly during The X factor and their first album, Up All Night)
- He had to keep working with Simon Cowell for many years (both as a soloist and as a judge) after the band went on hiatus, being the last one of the boys to break his contract with Syco Music (July 2020)
- (Just like the rest of the members) he could’t spend a lot of time with his family, which in his case is particularly unfortunate because he lost both his mother and his sister recently, and he couldn’t fully enjoy their company during their last years of life

Again, most of the evidence that proves all these points is included and explained in the article I cited at the beginning, but here are some of those:

- There are many videos in which it is clear that he was not even allowed to sit next to Harry or to look at him; they no longer interacted in any way when they were in public
- He mentioned in an interview that he stated feeling "unimportant" in the band or like he was "the forgettable member of One Direction" because he wasn’t given many opportunities to sing at first. Because of this, many people often qualified him as "the least talented one" of the group, and that hurt him to the point where he even started doubting himself and considered not creating music on his own because they made him feel like he wasn’t as good as the rest of the boys (which of course is absolutely ridiculous and wrong)
- Many pictures and videos prove that Louis was not particularly fond of Simon Cowell, and he even had occasional confrontations with him, but he still had to obey and bear him because he was his boss for many years (and you can tell how uncomfortable he felt around him)
- In their documentary/movie "This is us" there’s a segment in which his mother says that she had only seen him 5 days during a period of two and a half years and that’s simply unbelievable. In fact, I’m not even sure it was legal to have such a small quantity of free days, specially considering how young they were

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4. Harry

You can tell how toxic and manipulative One Direction’s management was by the way Harry is now. Since he left Syco Music and Modest he dresses the way he wants, writes songs that speak honestly and openly about his feelings and he can behave whichever way he wants. But it wasn’t always like that; Harry also had to confront many things that he shouldn’t have:

- Even though he is a very sweet and kind guy he was forced to look like a "womanizer" or a "flirt", so they tried to create that image of him, even though he was completely different to that and it made him feel terrible
- He was forced to stay away from Louis; which damaged the incredible bond they shared
- He was put through many uncomfortable situations, in which he had to go out with a lot of girls and even older women (despite the fact that he was still 16 years old / underage) just because he became some sort of "sex symbol" (which he hates), and also because they wanted to dissipate any rumors related to his sexual orientation since people began suspecting that he might be homosexual (something that, do this day, he still prefers not to talk about)

Some of the consequences of this actions are the following:

- Harry had to raise his voice on many occasions to defend himself and say that he wasn’t really what the media tried to portray of him; he had to speak out to tell the truth: that he believed women should be treated with respect and that they were not objects
- Just like in the case of Louis, there’s a lot of evidence out there that shows how they were prohibited to be close (to sit next to each other, to touch, to speak openly about one another or even to make eye contact), and that hurts because Harry seemed really happy around him
- You can tell by his body language and his overall behavior that he didn’t seem to enjoy the company of many of the girls "he was with"

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5. Niall

It makes no sense to compare the suffering of each member of the band, because all of them ended up having their own difficulties and it was harsh for each. One Direction’s management affected everyone in the end, but if I were to choose the worst cases, I’d say Niall was second to Louis because of this:

- He had to continue going to interviews, concerts and even awards in crutches despite being injured (he had many problems with his knee)
- He had to change his image and get braces because it wasn’t considered "acceptable" to look the way he did if he was going to be in the band
- Just like Louis, he got a miserable amount of solos compared to the other boys; but in his case it was even worse because his microphone was turned off (or had its volume lowered) on multiple occasions in public

It affected Niall in many ways:

- His knee got worse for a while because he had to suspend his surgery and keep going fo the sake of the band, which proved that their management cared more about money than the boys and their wellbeing
- He suffered from low self esteem because everyone made him feel like he was not physically attractive and like he didn’t sing well (which, again, is all lies)

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So, that’s it for this article.
As I said, you can dig deeper in the web and find evidence of all the things I mentioned here, because sadly many of them happened so often that there’s plenty of evidence out there. Also, the boys (specially Zayn and Liam) have been opening up about many of these things recently, so there are also valuable interviews that prove these points.
I think that the fact that they have spoken about it demonstrates just how important it is to expose the truth; the world needs to know that One Direction had a dark side behind it, and it should be acknowledged by fans and non-fans alike.

I just hope that whatever Zayn, Liam, Louis, Harry and Niall experience from now on in both their professional and their personal paths brings them the joy and the freedom they deserve.

Of course, not everything in One Direction was sad and miserable, but we still need to recognize that these things happened and that the boys were regular human beings with regular feelings that didn’t deserve to feel that way. Yet, we need to feel grateful for the good times they had together and also for the joy they brought us.

Most of the time, the sad part of a story is omitted, simply because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s precisely the things we ignore purposely, the ones that we should’ve seen since the beginning.

So thank you for taking the time to read this.

Lots of love,
Nat

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