One Direction star Liam Payne has urged fans upset about Zayn Malik decision to quit the group to "chill out" after jokingly covering his pal's face on a poster in a photo uploaded to Twitter.com.
Malik announced he was walking away from the boy band on Wednesday (25Mar15), six days after he quit the Best Song Ever hitmakers' tour of Asia due to the stress of life in the limelight.
His announcement emerged days after he was forced to dismiss allegations suggesting he had been caught cheating on his fiancee, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, after he was photographed holding hands with another girl during a night out in Thailand.
In the band's statement, remaining members Payne, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson wrote, "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour."
Payne, 21, then decided to have a little fun with the news by posting a picture of the foursome meeting with fans in Asia, where they held up a large poster designed by devotees.
The image featured Payne using his hand to cover Malik's face on the poster and was captioned, "#makinglightofasituation sorry for the laughs guys".
However, not everyone appreciated his attempt to joke about Malik's departure and he was bombarded with angry messages from fans of the 22 year old, prompting Payne to return to the site moments later and tweet, "Some people can't take a joke ... Bit of banter (fun chat) guys chill out."
Meanwhile, Harry Styles appears to have taken Malik's departure news harder than his bandmates - the singer appeared to be holding back tears during a Wednesday night (25Mar15) gig in Jakarta, Indonesia.