Simon Cowell Defends Zayn And Louis After Joint-Smoking Video

'They're the hardest-working boys I've ever worked with,' Cowell says.

One Direction's Liam Payne has already sort of broken his silence about the weed-smoking video that has surfaced of Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson toking up in a car in Peru. Now, the boys' mentor, Simon Cowell, has weighed in on the (alleged) joint seen round-the-world and he says it's time to cut the guys some slack.

In an interview with Digital Spy Cowell said 1D are super dedicated to their jobs and that they love their fans as much as ever.

"What I can say is that they're the hardest-working boys I've ever worked with," said Cowell. "They still haven't changed. They're really respectful of their fans [and] they're a great British export... they've been a joy to work with. I've worked with a lot of artists in the past who do lose the plot, who do lose respect for their fans, they've never done that."

Cowell wouldn't respond directly when asked what advice, if any, he's given 1D, saying it's a "private matter," but that he's "on the phone all the time" with his artists. Payne was more specific in his apology, tweeting last week that, "We all have a lot of growing up to do in an extreme circumstance. I'm not making excuse but it's face we are gunna fall short somewhere."