Justin Timberlake is apologizing to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson for what he says is the male privilege he benefitted from in past years as both women suffered vicious attacks while he stood by, many times the attacks were spurned by him.
His apology was released on Friday amid swarming news about Britney’s conservatorship as she tussles with her father in court to remove or limit his control over her estate. The singer also has garnered public support from fans that started the #freebritneyspears movement as they express concern for her health and well being following several troubling videos surfacing online.
In his apology, Justin Timberlake says, “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns and I want to respond. I am deeply sorry for the time in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what is right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefitted from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
Britney Spears and Timberlake met in the 1990s and announced a relationship in 1999. When they broke up, it was a messy affair with Britney taking the bashing as rumors swirled that Britney cheated on Timberlake and he even going on radio shows referring to her as a “b**ch” and boasting about taking her virginity- opening such a sensitive and tender moment for ridicule and attack from his fans. His song “Cry Me a River,” is also said to be about Spears.
Justin Timberlake has been a subject for discussion over the last few weeks as a #freebritneyspears documentary drew attention to the relationship and the aftermath and how the Timberlake-fueled attacks helped to destroy Spears.
Timberlake, however, disclosed that he has grown and matured, and he sought to address his behavior in the past, and he apologized to Spears and Jackson.
“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Speaks and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I knw 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.”
It seems, though, that he is also saying that showbiz is to be blamed for engendering a culture of misogyny that hurt the careers and reputations of Spears and Jackson- being highly critical and less forgiving to women compared to men.
“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. 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 barely suffered any consequence following the saga involving Spears as news of her meltdown and subsequent drugs and mental health challenges hit the media. In fact, he even mocked and made fun of her issues during interviews.
Justin Timberlake’s wife, Jessica Biel, shared her reaction in the comments writing, “I love you.”
As for Janet Jackson, she appeared in a Super Bowl performance with Timberlake, and at the end, when they executed a choreographed performance, Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctioned with one of her breasts being exposed. Timberlake rode the news as he launched his solo career while Jackson was shunned and became an outcast in Hollywood and her album flopping. Her career never really recovered after that incident as Jackson withdrew herself from the public. Timberlake went on to be invited to the Grammys and other shows where he performed while Jackson was not invited.
He said in his apology, “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. 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. I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better,” he promised.