Justin Timberlake Apologizes To Britney Spears And Janet Jackson In Response To Documentary Backlash

Justin Timberlake in The Social Network

Justin Timberlake's name has been in the news and on social media lately, though not for anything that he's done recently, and more in connection to events from his past he'd probably prefer to move on from. Timberlake showed up as part of the Hulu and FX documentary Framing Britney, which analyzes the events in Britney Spears' life and career that has led to her ongoing converatorship (and inspired the hashtag #FreeBritney). Today, Timberlake is acknowledging his role in things that have happened to both Spears and singing sensation Janet Jackson, and apologizing.

In a lengthy post added to his Instagram, Justin Timberlake starts out by saying:

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 from a system that condones misogyny and racism. I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for a respect these women and I know I failed.

In the Britney Spears documentary, it’s noted that Spears and Justin Timberlake dated while both were at the height of their respective teen-pop careers. While both got their start on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they each took their talents in different musical directions while also fueling numerous gossip rags with their romantic relationship.

It is pointed out in the documentary that Justin Timberlake may have contributed to Britney Spears' emotional distress when he hired a Spears lookalike to appear in his Cry Me a River video following the duo's highly publicized breakup.

Justin Timberlake does not address any specifics in his apology, but he does go on to post on his socials:

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. 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.

As for Janet Jackson’s name popping up in the apology, Justin Timberlake seems to be reaching back to the event at the Super Bowl that resulted in Jackson exposing herself on national television thanks to what notoriously has been labeled as a “wardrobe malfunction.” There has been a lot of discussion following that event that determined that Jackson’s career suffered far more than Timberlake’s… pointing to the fact that Timberlake was invited back to the Super Bowl to perform, and Jackson remains ostracized.

Justin Timberlake concluded his online apology with:

I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.

We applaud Justin Timberlake for taking this necessary step, and will continue to track the fallout that keeps coming from the Britney Spears documentary that’s airing on Hulu as we speak.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.