Thehost caused outrage amongst online communities after a picture of the former One Direction member next to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was used as a joke on his show.
"Zayn Malik can go and quit One Direction for all I care," said Maher
“I think after everything we’ve been through, I at least deserved the common respect of being told face to face.
“Just tell me two things, Zayn. Which one in the band were you? And where were you during the Boston Marathon?”
Zayn quit the hugely successful boyband stating that he wanted to be 'a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.'
Fans of Zayn took to Twitter to show their support, and express their anger, using the hashtag #RespectforZayn, with many believing that Maher's comments were directed towards his Muslim faith and background.
@billmaher that "joke" comparing zayn to the boston bomber was tasteless, racist, and just not funny at all.— m🌻 (@mjostew) April 4, 2015
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