One Direction are a very famous British boy band who're currently more popular than Botched Jesus Fresco. Since their serendipitous formation on Simon Cowell's X Factor, they have stolen the hearts and minds and babysitting incomes of young squeeing girls across the world, including a very notable one named Malia Obama.
They are also rather persnickety about what sort of questions they will accept from interviewers' dumb mouths, because these uber-doober superstars have been around so so so long (since 2010) and they're just really tired of you asking about their pre-show rituals, eyeroll.
Or so that's what Canadian DJ Scott Rush, a morning-show co-host on Ottawa's the New Hot 89.9 FM, learned moments before he was about get 10 precious minutes on the phone with One Direction member Zayn Malik. (Second to right in the above photo.) Just as the band's publicist was about to connect Rush with the 19-year-old, she very quickly, and rather casually, rattled off a list of "few things you're not allowed to ask."
Except there weren't a "few things." There were many things. Twelve. Actually, 13, since the last one's a two-parter.
The forbidden list:
1. Who is your celebrity crush?
2. Which of you have girlfriends?
3. Who came up with the name One Direction?
4. Anything "X Factor"-related
5. Worst habits about each other
6. Do you guys fight?
7. Best prank someone pulled on you
8. Describe each other in one word
9. Funniest fan stories
10. If not in the band, what would you be doing?
11. Pre-show rituals
12. No questions about money or religion
By this instruction, questions completely within bounds would have been: When did you lose your virginity?; Have you ever huffed paint?; Who does your eyebrows?; How often do you give your bandmates blowies?
Rush, in turn, did what any self-respecting Grown Man Who Really Doesn't Need This Shit from a Stupid Teenager would do. He said hello to Zayn, audibly shuffled some papers, then said goodbye.
"I have never in my career experienced anything remotely close to this," writes Rush, who's been doing this sort of thing for more than 15 years, over e-mail. He acknowledges what anyone who's ever dealt with celebrity publicists knows: they sometimes will ask you to avoid one or two 'sensitive' topics; whether you oblige is your choice, but disobedience will inevitably affect future access to their clients. "Zayn is apparently dating a girl named Perrie from a girl-band in England. If I had been told not to ask about her because he's uncomfortable talking about it, that would have been fine," Rush concedes. "They took it a mile further, which is why we did what we did. I could have done a full interview with Zayn and not touched on any of the banned subjects-I was certainly prepared-but come on. Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough."
On Monday, Rush's show ("The Morning Hot Tub with Mauler, Rush, Jenni and Josie") aired the conversation, complete with the Sony Music Canada flak's verboten-subject introduction. The label wasn't happy. "They seemed rather upset and asked us to remove the audio of the interview from our website." The station complied, Rush explains, because "we wanted to make a point, the point was made, and there was no reason to go any further."
This has become such a SCANDAL that One Direction's management released a statement earlier today regarding the "banning questions" issue:
Regarding the recent story about One Direction "banning questions" -this is a complete misunderstanding. One Direction asked if certain recurring questions could be avoided in future interviews as the band were giving the same answers continually. They knew, via feedback, that the fans were requesting a wider range of subject matter in interviews. Questions relating to describing each band member, or referencing The X Factor, are certainly not out of bounds. A suggestion was merely made to try and make interviews more interesting for the fans, which has been misconstrued and misunderstood.
In any case, the original segment is still floating around YouTube. We've embedded a recording to the left. The publicist's nonchalance is astounding.
But seriously, who does Zayn's eyebrows?
[photo: Getty Images]