Justin Timberlake issued an apology to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson in the wake of the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary that unearthed some of the star’s unsavory behavior and comments from the early aughts. In the written statement, the singer said, “I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
The “Cry Me a River” singer shared the apology in an earnest Instagram post and acknowledged the flurry of “messages, tags, comments and concerns” regarding his actions and that he felt the need to respond.
Justin Timberlake described his actions as contributing to the problems of misogyny and racism in the entertainment industry.
“I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn or did not speak up for what was right,” Timberlake wrote.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” Timberlake went on. “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”
“I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from,” he added.
Then, Timberlake digs deeper into the problems endemic to the music and entertainment industries. “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this … I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past.”
As part of the “Framing Britney Spears” documentary, the producers assert that his music video for “Cry Me River” that was released after the storied breakup between Spears and himself, depicts a Spears’ lookalike. The video plays out like a revenge fantasy that pits all the blame on their failed relationship on Spears.
Then, in a 2002 interview with Star and Buc Wild, Timberlake admits he and Spears had actually had sex. The private nature of the comment upset many fans as it showed little respect for the “Womanizer” singer who he had known professionally since their childhood days together on the “Mickey Mouse Club.”
A wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl put Janet Jackson at the center of a controversy that became known as “Nipplegate.” The press, at the time, breathlessly blamed Jackson for the incident in spite of Timberlake’s involvement.
While the press dogged Jackson, Timberlake did nothing, other than issue an apology to viewers, to stand up for his costar of the performance and defend her from onslaught of criticism and blame.
“Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again,” Timberlake wrote in his apology.
He admits before concluding that he knows the apology does not “absolve” him from his past actions and that he views it as a “first step.”
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I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be part of a world that uplifts and supports,” Timberlake said. “I care deeply about the well-being of the people I love and have loved.”
“I can do better and I will do better,” he wrote in conclusion.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
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