Simon Cowell posted a congratulatory message to Harry Styles on Instagram. Alongside a photo of the two hugging, Simon wrote “Congratulations @harrystyles ! Very proud of you!”
The sweetness stops with Simon’s message however, as the comments alongside the post are mostly Harry fans trashing Simon, saying basically “go away,” “Back off” and “Are you serious?”
Harry cleaned up at the BRIT Awards last weekend, winning all four categories in which he was nominated. While accepting Artist of the Year, the Harry’s House singer thanked his mother for signing him up for X Factor auditions way back in 2010–a thing he would not have done on his own. Then he went on to thank each of his fellow One Direction band members–Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik.
Harry thanked his mom, thanked One Direction, did not thank Simon Cowell
Conspicuously absent from his thank you mentions? Simon Cowell, the owner and creator of the X Factor franchise. Afterward, the group signed to his record label. “I want to thank my mum for signing me up for X Factor without telling me, so, I literally wouldn’t be here without you,” Harry shared. “I want to thank Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn, because I wouldn’t be here without you either. Thank you so much.”
A few of the sample comments alongside Simon’s post include:
“notice how harry thanked all the one direction boys and not you. now think why that might be. the math is mathing”
“He deserves everything and it’s bc of his effort and his family and friends, not you”
“Let’s be real Simon. Harry is a GREAT artist, he owes you nothing. Harry didn’t win those awards because of you, he won them because of the talent he has.”
“You destroyed young men’s self esteem but you’re proud???? Thank God we know Nicole put the band together yet you don’t really give her credit for that. I can’t wait to see what @louist91 says in his documentary”
“Get my baby’s name out of your mouth.”
“Can someone edit Simon out cause that pic would be so cute”
“no. get off. delete. deactivate.”
“go back to hell and don’t talk about him thank you”
“i don’t think he likes you..”
“side eye SIDE EYE”
“i hate you”
When a commenter asked why there was so much “hate” on the post, a fan answered, “cause no one likes how much pressure he put on the boys and how controlling and abusive their management was to them ever since the beginning”
One of the very few positive comments on the post: “you guys are going crazy but he never said harry owed anything to him, and he never said that harry’s is where he is because of him. i think he’s just saying that he’s PROUD of him. like you would be of a friend, family member, workmate etc. we know harry’s solo success is off his own back.”
“I needed to stop, definitely. It would have killed me.”
After One Direction finished in 3rd place on X Factor UK season 7 in 2010, the group went right to work. They ground out 5 albums in as many years and toured CONSTANTLY. Zayn dropped out of the group after album number 4 in 2015, citing creative differences, and that he was unhappy in the band. The group disbanded a year later.
In a 2019 interview with Spin1038.com, Liam confessed, “We were definitely overworked. I had no personal life, I learnt nothing about myself.” He also said, “I just lived so long as this reclusive pop star who was afraid of people, who just stayed inside all the time,” adding, “I needed to stop, definitely. It would have killed me.”
To be fair, other than Zayne and and Liam, it’s hard to find Harry, Louis Tomlinson or Niall Horan saying anything negative about their One Direction experience. But after watching One Direction basically burn out after six years, their fans seem to blame Simon Cowell and management.