Although Zayn Malik's decision to quit One Direction in March was presented as amicable by both the singer and his four bandmates, a touchy Twitter exchange on Wednesday might indicate fissures that contributed to the split.
After Malik's new producer, Naughty Boy, posted an image of himself and Malik that appeared consciously reminiscent of old, cheap film technology -- desaturated, grainy and given a greenish hue -- One Direction's Louis Tomlinson tweeted, "Remember when you were 12 and you used to think those Mac [home computer] filters for your pictures were cool haha ! Some people still do HA!"
Roughly a half-hour later, Malik replied on Twitter, "Louis Tomlinson remember when you had a life and stopped making [expletive] comments about mine?"
Tomlinson, 23, and Naughty Boy, 30, then began exchanging their own pointed tweets, with Tomlinson alluding to a Twitter contretemps the two had in late March over what Tomlinson considered arrogant public comments by the producer.
Malik, 22, did not re-enter the fray as of Wednesday afternoon, and there were no postings about it on One Direction's Facebook page.
In an apparent coincidence, former Oasis guitarist and now High Flying Birds frontman Noel Gallagher criticized Malik in a Rolling Stone interview posted Wednesday. "It's a strange thing for that lad to have done at that age," Gallagher, 47, said of Malik's choice to leave a globally chart-topping band. "The greatest quote was -- I laughed out loud when I read it -- 'I just want to be a normal 22-year-old.' Pfft. Who wants to be a normal 22-year-old?! . . . Have you met any normal 22-year-olds?"