One Direction fans have turned their vitriol in Bill Maher’s direction, after the comedian jokingly compared recently departed member Zayn Malik to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old accused of executing the bombing attack on the Boston Marathon in 2013.
During the ‘New Rules’ segment of last week’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, the HBO host addressed Malik’s leave of 1D by being faux-upset by the split. “I think after everything we’ve been through, I at least deserve the common respect of being told face-to-face,” Maher said. “Just tell me two things, Zayn: Which one in the band were you?”
A photo of Malik was then placed side-by-side with that of Tsarnaev in the segment. “And where were you during the Boston Marathon?” Maher finished the joke.
The official YouTube video of the segment has accrued 114,000 views since Mar. 30, with commenters calling the joke “disgusting,” “disrespectful” and “sick.” A spokesperson for HBO did not immediately respond to Billboard’s request for comment.
On Monday morning (Apr. 6), closing arguments began in Tsarnaev’s trial, which follows 15 days of prosecution. Tsarnaev faces a total of 30 counts for the attacks that left three dead and over 260 injured.
Last week, a demo of Malik’s solo song “I Won’t Wind” was posted online by producer Naughty Boy. The rest of One Direction have continued their world tour as a quartet in support of recent album Four.