Zayn walked away with a major win at the 2016 American Music Awards on Sunday night, but it was not without some controversy when the 23-year-old singer and former member of One Direction took the podium to accept the award for New Artist of the Year. The award is given out to the artist with the most fan votes for that particular category, and Zayn beat out the likes of Alessia Cara and The Chainsmokers. Not too bad for his first go as a solo act.
— zayn (@zaynmalik) November 21, 2016
During his acceptance speech, Zayn leaned into the microphone and announced, “This one just has my name on it right?” He went on to thank his family and fans for their support, but people on Twitter quickly picked up on the shade he threw at his former group. Zayn and One Direction never publicly made up after Zayn left the group on a sour note, though in Zayn’s recently released autobiography he did write he was “proud of a lot of stuff from the One Direction days.” Based on tonight’s speech, he may have some ill will still lingering.
The reactions ranged from “damn he really went there” to “straight disrespectful,” and it wouldn’t surprise us if someone from One Direction responds soon. For now, check out Zayn’s acceptance speech above and reactions below. For a rundown of the 2016 American Music Award winners, click here.