In the wake of accusations of sexism and misogyny against his treatment of former girlfriend Britney Spears and the “wardrobe malfunction” with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl in 2004, he has apologized to both.
In an Instagram 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 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 and respect these women and I know I failed.”
His apologies goes back almost 20 years. He and Spears dated when both were teen stars, and during that time he said publicly that he had slept with her (she’d claimed she was waiting until she was married), and later accused her of cheating in the video for his 2002 song Cry Me a River, starring an actress who resembled Spears.
This situation has resurfaced recently in the documentary Framing Britney Spears, which focuses on the conservatorship she has been under since 2008.
It also addresses the sexist and judgmental way she has been treated by the media and others throughout her career.
The Super Bowl scandal revolves around what Timberlake described as a “wardrobe malfunction,” in which he pulled back part of Jackson’s outfit and exposed her breast, causing mass public outcry. Plus an investigation by the FCC.
The situation was never fully explained publicly, but Jackson bore the brunt of the criticism while Timberlake managed to mostly dodge responsibility.
Jackson’s career took a serious hit in popularity and public opinion, and in some ways it never fully recovered.
Timberlake’s post concludes:
“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.”
Framing Britney Spears producer-director, Samantha Stark told Variety,
“We didn’t ask Justin Timberlake for comment, just like we didn’t ask a number of other people who appear in archival footage for comment.
Interviewees make points about the media coverage surrounding the breakup … Unlike other people who we did ask for comment, we don’t make any allegations against Justin. We simply let the footage play.”
(Photos, YouTube; via Variety)