Justin Timberlake apologized to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson on Instagram on Friday in a long post where he admitted he’d been ‘ignorant’ about his privilege as a white man in the music industry and said he’d ‘failed’ the women.
In a long post, he said: ‘I’ve seen the 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 a system that condones misogyny and racism.
‘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.’
Timberlake’s apology comes after he was tagged endlessly in social media posts about Spears and the campaign to release her from a conservatorship held by her father.
Justin Timberlake posted this statement on Instagram on Friday to apologize for his past treatment of women
Timberlake and Spears dated from 1998 until 2002 and were an iconic star duo. After their break-up, she suffered mental health episodes and had control of her life taken by her father.
In 2004, Timberlake, then 23, performed with Janet Jackson, then 38, at the Super Bowl. At the end of the performance, he tore off her costume to expose her breast. The moment afterwards is shown
It has been highlighted recently in a documentary and the hashtag #FreeBritney has gone viral. Fans say that Timberlake contributed to the problem.
He and Spears dated from 1998 until 2002 and were an iconic star duo. After their break-up, she suffered mental health episodes and had control of her life taken by her father.
His career soared and one of his most successful albums was promoted under the narrative that Spears had cheated on him and broke his heart.
One of the standout songs from the album – Cry Me A River – was made even more successful by its music video, which featured a blonde woman who fans speculated was meant to represent Spears.
In 2004, Timberlake, then 23, performed with Janet Jackson, then 38, at the Super Bowl. At the end of the performance, he tore off her costume to expose her breast.
She was wearing a nipple cover but looked visibly shocked by what he’d done and the audience was irate.
In a statement afterwards, MTV and Viacom said it was not part of the planned show.
In his music video for Cry Me A River, Timberlake used a Britney Spears lookalike (above)
After their break-up, Spears’ mental health deteriorated. She was put under a conservatorship by her father in 2008. She and Timberlake are shown in 2002 at the Super Bowl
‘The tearing of Janet Jackson’s costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance,’ they said.
He was never crucified for it, but she was. Jackson was blacklisted by Viacom, the Super Bowl broadcaster, but he was allowed to return for a solo, half-time performance in 2018.
but in light of the #MeToo movement and the #FreeBritney campaign, the incident has been re-examined by fans.
Timberlake went on in his post: ‘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 a part of and grow from…
‘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.
‘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 well-being of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.’
Timberlake with his wife Jessica Biel. He said in his post that he no longer wanted to ‘benefit from others being pulled down’