The 21-year-old singer shared a funny Twitter photo just the other day to seemingly make light of the 1D controversy.
In the pic, Payne stands with bandmates Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson as the foursome pose with fans during their global tour. The pals hold up a One Direction poster and you can see a smiley Payne covering up Malik's face with his right hand. Ouch! "#makinglightofasituation sorry for the laughs guys," he captioned the pic.
Needless to say, some One Direction fans found Payne's humor in poor taste in the wake of Malik quitting the group. Payne followed up with, "Some people can't take a joke ... Bit of banter guys chill out."
Some people can't take a joke ... Bit of banter guys chill out? Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) March 23, 2015
Malik announced he was leaving 1D earlier today. "After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year," they posted on Facebook. "Zayn says: ‘My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologize to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.'"
Proir to the announcement, Malik revealed he was taking a hiatus from the band and their ongoing world tour. "Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate," the 1D rep told E! News. "The band wish him well and will continue with their performances in Manila and Jakarta."