Simon speaks out on controversial footage

Simon Cowell has defended One Direction after a video emerged which appears to show Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik smoking a rolled-up joint.

The music mogul, who mentored 1D on The X Factor in 2010, thinks the boys would never do anything to upset their fanbase.

I’ve worked with a lot of artists who do lose the plot and do lose respect for their fans and forget who took them there, but they’ve never done that,’ says Simon, 54.

They really do love their fans. They’ve been a joy to work with.

They are the hardest working boys I’ve ever worked with. They haven’t changed. They’re great British exports.’

Simon won’t reveal if he’s given any advice to the lads after the clip of Zayn, 21, and Louis, 22, emerged last week but he wants Directioners to stand by the group.

It’s a private matter I don’t want to go into,’ the Britain’s Got Talent judge tells the Mirror.

I hope the fans stay loyal.’

Zayn and Louis haven’t commented on the footage, which was filmed in Peru in April during 1D‘s Where We Are tour, but a spokesman for the band tells us: The matter is in the hands of our lawyers.’

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Anna Francis