Liam Payne

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Name: Liam Payne
Also Known As:
Occupation: singer
Medium: pop music
Works: see Wikipedia:One_Direction_discography
Official Website(s): twitter
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Liam Payne is an English singer and worst speller of the boy band One Direction. See Wikipedia for details.

He appears in a lot of fanworks.


As of April 30, 2015, according to AO3 tags, Liam appeared in 20,096 fanworks:

Other Liam ships include threesomes and moresomes with 1D members as well as het ships with canonical ex-partners Danielle Peazer (609 uses) and Sophia Smith (473 uses), and, in significantly fewer numbers, with current girlfriend Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (9 uses).

Fanon and Tropes

Dumb!Liam: Liam's terrible/endearing spelling and awful/earnest/adorable tweets often appears in fic, often contributing to the idea that he is not not the sharpest tool in the box (or misdirecting the reader to believe he is clueless when he is not). Examples:

“Sometimes I wouldn’t mind having that,” Harry says thoughtfully.

“What?” Liam says. Surely Harry doesn’t mean Sophia. God, Harry probably could, if he wanted. Sophia fancies him, but Liam’s not - he’s not an idiot. He knows Harry’s fit, and a hell of a lot more clever than him.

That’s Liam’s lot in life, though. Surrounded by people more clever than him.

The "Daddy Direction" trope: standing in opposition to dumb!Liam, this trope highlights how responsible Liam is, his business savvy and competence. The trope is based in canon, with the nickname tweeted by Liam himself in 2011[1] and appearing in the descriptions of Liam given by Louis and Harry in 1D's This Is Us documentary. In fanworks, this sometimes literally translates to daddy kink and/or dom!Liam. Examples:

No one else had ever made Louis feel safe like Liam did.

Even in the beginning, when Louis couldn't even breathe without feeling like Liam wanted him to do it better, Liam was still the rock for them all. It didn't matter how nervous Zayn or Harry were, or how overwhelmed Niall looked, or how certain Louis was that this was the week he would be found out and chucked from a band he had never deserved to be a part of in the first place. All it took was one look at Liam on stage, brimming over with confidence and determination, to make Louis feel like he was going to be okay.

Lonely!Liam: He might be bullied, friendless or socially awkward, stemming from stories of his painful teenage years. Examples:

The bed is about a third bigger than the one Liam has at home. He sits down on the edge of it whilst Louis goes to help Harry locate sheets, and he thinks about crying because he's so lonely and he hasn't got any friends, and the best night he's had ever is with two strangers who've just offered him their sofa bed.

Liam's build and strength often feature in fanworks. For example, in AUs where he is not in the band, Liam is routinely cast as a firefighter or a mechanic:


A number of One Direction fans tinhat Liam, believing that his relationships to one or more known girlfriends were engineered by management to hide his true sexuality and more specifically his relationship to Zayn. See Ziam is real for more detail.


Liam and his Twitter have been the subject of a good amount of wank since 2014.

Duck Dynasty Tweets

On 18 January 2014, Liam tweeted at Willie Robertson of the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, saying, "huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan" [1]. This came only a month after a GQ interview in which Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson had made a number of inflammatory homophobic remarks and was subsequently suspended from A&E's lineup;[3] therefore, many 1D fans took Liam's tweet and reference to "family values" as his support for Robertson's homophobic views.[4] Twitter quickly began to criticize him, and Liam, as is his wont, responded with a number of defensive tweets ([2][3][4]) but never directly apologized for the initial tweet, which further upset fans. [5]

Other Remarks

Liam also has a reputation in fandom for asserting his no-homo-ness, as in the infamous "kernel" tweet about KFC.[6] In September 2014, he tweeted in response to a gay porn photo that featured a Liam lookalike, first calling it a "weird photo" and then continuing, "I'm 100% not homophobic. But I'm also 100% not gay so when somebody says I am I'm gunna say I'm not which does not make me a homophobe".

During a concert on 18 August 2015, Liam introduced the song "Girl Almighty" by saying, "[this song] is about trying to find that number one woman in your life, which none of you can relate to because most of you are girls."[7] This drew immediate criticism from fans, especially those who are not girls or not heterosexual.[8] Liam's defense in the form of eight tweets in a row, which included phrases like "you guys know what I meant it was meant in general" and "I am in no way shape or form homophobic", concluded with "I'm sorry to those I offended really I am but there's no need for some of the things I'm being called". ([5]) Some fans considered this a non-apology and accuse Liam of continuing to act the victim when he is called out.[9]

In September 2015, Liam gave an interview to Attitude magazine in which he dismissed the presence of rainbow flags at their concerts as being due to Larry Stylinson, among other remarks.[10] These sparked criticism from fans.[11] Some fans have defended this particular remark if only because the connection between rainbow flags and tinhatting is controversial within the fandom itself.[12] Again, Liam defended himself on Twitter. ([6][7])

Body Issues

Liam was briefly the subject of wank in March 2014 after two tweets that read "Lol just seen on twitter people think I'm fat?now I've never been called that before nice, on my way to mcdonalds then I'm off to fat camp" & "I'm so fat that when i twerk I become a wrecking ball".[8] He repeated the same idea in two Instagrams in August 2014, one featuring Liam with a pillow under his shirt and the caption "I mean OH MY GOD I'm just so fat these days I think I need help! quick someone take the cookie jar"[9] and another with a screenshot proclaiming his BMI and the caption "Or do I have to look like an Olympic swimmer just to get your approval into the cool kids or can I accept that the person I truly love thinks I'm the coolest kid in town anyway?"[10]. Fan responses??[citation needed]

A number of fans were on Liam's side on this subject, however, reminding each other that whatever Liam's body looks like, it doesn't deserve criticism.[13]

Further Reading

Fannish Resources

  • it’s a liam god damn payne primer by needsmoresarcasm part 1, part 2, part 3 (August 2012)


  1. "daddy direction" tweet by Liam, April 8, 2011.
  2. The Firefighter Liam tag has 27 works as of April 30, 2015.
  3., What the Duck?, 17 December 2013;, 'Duck Dynasty' star suspended for anti-gay remarks, 18 December 2013
  4. thesecondwarm, Tumblr post on 19 January 2014 (archived): "Tweeting someone who went on a belligerent and homophobic rant equating homosexuality to beastiality with your support of their “family values”? Yeah. That comes off as being sympathetic to their homophobic ideals. Furthermore, the phrase “family values” is coded with so much condemnation and blatant hate for the queer community that we’ve learned to avoid people who use the term."
  5. dazy-laze, Tumblr post on 18 January 2014 (archived): "to him he prob really does think saying ‘people can love who they love it’s none of my business’ is enough to make him 'not homophobic guys!!!’ and render his support of the family in question harmless, and he can’t understand, clearly, why it isn’t, and isn’t bothering to learn or apologise, is just getting defensive." And @aurosan, twitlonger on 19 January 2014 (archived): "Liam is clearly in a spiral of self-defense right now, and trust me, I'd love to believe he didn't tweet a right wing slogan that is entrenched in anti-gay hate on purpose, but I have a hard time spilling tears out for him or cheering him on. He had plenty of chances to acknowledge the weight of what he said given the context of the Duck Dynasty clan but instead he's just encouraged fans to keep attacking people who have every right to be upset."
  6. This tweet seems to have been met mostly with humor from the fandom: see saintzitao, Tumblr post on 31 May 2014
  7. @mustbefireproof, video tweet on 18 August 2015
  8. See studyinrainbows' Tumblr post (archived) & allegedlymags' answered ask (archived): "To me, it came across as flippant and thoughtless- like, literally thoughtless as in he wasn’t thinking- but not malicious whatsoever. This is honestly what I thought- “OK, Liam, I’m not THAT well-educated about these issues, but even I would have known not to say that.”"
  9. See amortentialarry's answered ask (archived): "as if that wasn’t enough, he went on a very manipulative twitter rant after that, claiming he isn’t homophobic and painted himself as the victim in the entire situation and it was all very nasty and very triggering and just not nice for me. because that was manipulative. you can’t tell me otherwise. i experienced it before and it was exactly the same in that situation. " and verily-i-say's answered ask (archived): "it’s not about having accidentally said something potentially offensive, it’s about how you respond to being called out. …Liam (or, if you don’t believe the tweets were sent by him, “Liam”) played his standard victim card, where he didn’t apologise and then tried to make people feel guilty for having called him out." & riverforasoul's answered ask: ". It was heteronormative. Literally straight after the show, he was online playing the victim and complaining about criticism. He did apologise but not before making it all about him."
  10. scan of part of the article
  11. See beau-ambiance's Tumblr post: "So many fans that identify as LGBTQIA are devastated, and feel unsafe and unwanted in this fandom. Many are now hesitant to go to OTRA Boston and/or bring their rainbows. Do you know how disgusting that is? Fans of a band are made to feel alienated and unwanted." and dracoandlouisbothloveaharry's Open Letter to Liam, and nsfwtomlinson's reblog: "Doesn’t excuse Liam’s generalization of rainbow direction. It doesn’t excuse the dismissal of something that keeps so many queer fans happy in this fandom. So he said he supports ‘gay’ marriage and treats his gay friends equally. Fucking amazing tbh, good for him, lets keep applauding cis-hets for being decent fucking individuals. He’s had personal struggles with this and that, well boo fucking too, that’s the queer struggle everyday he’ll never no a damn thing about."
  12. hiddensymosiarch, Tumblr post: "He didn’t say he doesn’t like their LGBTQIA+ fans, he didn’t say he doesn’t like rainbows. What he said is that the Larries drive him nuts, and that he thinks most of the rainbows in the crowd are Larries holding them because they are Larries. Maybe he overstated that last point a bit, but from his perspective I understand why he thinks that."
  13. fannyann, Tumblr post (archived): "because thinking someone looks gross because you don’t like their hair or the scruff of their face or the way they dress themselves is one thing. but thinking someone looks gross because of the amount they weigh is an issue of its own that makes you a lot grosser than anything you think liam might look.", and hazelgracelancaster's reblog (archived): "You cannot come into a conversation about someone’s weight gain and said “he doesn’t look as good” and expect people to hear anything other than “if you are fat, you don’t look good.” That is just a logical thought progression —- “you looked good, you gained weight, you don’t look good anymore” = “you don’t look good because you gained weight”"