FINALLY, Justin Timberlake Apologized to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson
"The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success."
A large part of the #FreeBritney movement has been defending Britney Spears against all the slander and mistreatment she’s endured over the years, alongside the fight for her freedom from her dad, Jamie Spears. After the The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears documentary dropped on Hulu last week, fans all over the world came down hard on those who had wronged Spears in the past, including her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.
Today, Timberlake addressed the backlash and issued a formal apology on Instagram. The “Sexy Back” singer wrote, “I’ve seen messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. 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. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
In the two-page message, Timberlake also noted that he wanted to specifically apologize to Spears and fellow singer Janet Jackson, whom Timberlake performed with at the 2004 Super Bowl. During their performance, Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s top, exposing her breast, but rather than Timberlake dealing with any consequences, Jackson bore the brunt of the backlash.
Timberlake continued, “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.” He admitted that he knows he’s benefited from this in the past and wants to take accountability for his actions. He added that he wants to do better going forward.
Spears and Timberlake famously dated from 1999 to 2002, becoming one of the hottest couples in the music industry. When the couple broke up, the Los Angeles Times notes, Timberlake lashed out both through song and through interviews, alluding to Spears being unfaithful and even revealing private details about their relationship. It’s something that bothered Spears and her fans at the time that Timberlake never really owned up to.
However, almost 20 years down the line, Timberlake has grown up, gotten married, and had children of his own, and it looks like he might finally be taking responsibility for some of his past behavior. Actions speak louder than words, though, so we’ll be curious to see how he carries himself going forward.