One Direction Singer Under Fire for 'Duck Dynasty' Praise

12:52 PM PST 01/20/2014 by Paul Bond
Jonathan Short/Invision/AP
Liam Payne

Liam Payne tweeted to Willie Robertson that he appreciated his "family values," then took to Twitter many more times to criticize journalists he said were twisting his words in order to cause a controversy.

One Direction band member Liam Payne lashed out at some journalists and bloggers over the weekend, calling them “bastards” for twisting a friendly tweet he sent to Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson into a scandal about homophobia.

The dustup began when Payne tweeted Robertson in praise of his “family values” and to inform him he was a fan of his business prowess and of the Duck Dynasty TV show, prompting some to presume the pop star was endorsing Willie’s dad Phil Robertson’s famous view that homosexuality is sinful.

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Gawker, Perez Hilton and dozens more claimed a big backlash against Payne had erupted on Twitter. YouTube star and gay activist Tyler Oakley tweeted to his 1.8 million followers: “Wow. Very confused and disappointed by this @Real_Liam_Payne tweet. This literally changes everything.”

All the hoopla had Payne taking to Twitter to repeatedly address the situation and criticize those he thought were turning a harmless compliment aimed at a member of the Duck Dynasty family into major news event.

In one tweet, he asked, “What I gotta do to please you bastards?” In another, he complained, “I can’t do anything without being judged.” He also tweeted that his criticism was aimed at “Journalists and bloggers not fans,” and he promoted #lazyjournos.

He posted images of several headlines -- including one from Mirror Online that read: “One Direction’s Liam Payne defends ‘homophobic tweet’ to Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson supporting family values” -- and he tweeted: “Look at this shit.”

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In another tweet, he wrote, “I just watched a show and I liked it as most people do,” and in another he told journalists to “write about things that actually matter.” In still another, he advised: “Pick ur balls up off the floor and get on with it instead of taking advantage of every word said and twisting it for your own gain.”

He tried to inform his 15.3 million Twitter followers in various ways that it’s possible to be a fan of Duck Dynasty and not agree with all of their political and sociological positions, but eventually he tweeted: “Sick of all this bull il be back again when the freedom of speech law is back and people don’t believe to much into the bulls#!t they read.”

Payne’s original tweet to Willie Robertson read: “Huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. Big fan.”

Robertson tweeted back: “Thanks bro. Congrats to u boys as well. Y’all keep rockin, we’ll keep quackin. Stay strong in this nutty world.”

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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