One Direction fans have raised concerns that the boyband may be embroiled in a potential feud after Liam Payne 'erased' Zayn Malik from a tour poster.
Malik dramatically quit One Direction's On The Road Again tour due to "stress" following allegations that the What Makes You Beautiful singer cheated on his fiancée Perrie Edwards with holidaymaker Lauren Rich in Thailand.
"Zayn finds it tougher than the rest of his bandmates dealing with fame. Having his every movement scrutinised causes great anxiety and the pictures which surfaced with the fan yesterday was the final straw," a source told The Sun at the time. "He did nothing wrong but the amount of criticism he received was simply too much. He needs to get away."
In the wake of the 22-year-old's exit, a snap of the X Factor stars posing with fans began making the rounds online. In the image, Payne can be seen using one of his hands to obscure his missing bandmate's face.
Although it is not known whether the gesture, apparently made in the Philippines, was meant as a joke, many Directioners did not find it funny.
"I'm upset Zayn is gone too but Liam had no right. Zayn earned that award too!" one critic told UnrealityTV. "I mean we know Liam is angry at Zayn, but he had no right to block him out!"
Earlier in March, music producer Naughty Boy, real name is Shahid Khan, reignited rumours that Malik is leaving the boy band after confirming the heartthrob will feature on his upcoming album.
"I can't deny the fact that we have made music together," the La La La hitmaker told The Sun. "Zayn is going to feature on my next album.
"We're making music and having fun. This is just like a side gig and I don't think there's anything wrong with it."
He also claimed Malik would not able to embrace his full potential as one fifth of a boy band. "It's a good time for Zayn to showcase what he can really do," Naughty Boy said. "I don't think that is being fully exploited with the band because there are five people and it needs to be balanced out."