Following the recent release of the documentary Framing Britney Spears, Timberlake has been criticized for the public relations offensive his team dispatched in the aftermath of the pop stars’ breakup, with the tabloid accusations against Spears damaging her reputation in the media and public eye.
“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,” Timberlake wrote in his Instagram statement. “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”
Timberlake’s role in Framing Britney Spears (streaming now on Hulu) also renewed lingering criticisms against the singer for his perceived role in the backlash against Janet Jackson following the Super Bowl “Nipplegate” scandal; while Jackson was blacklisted from radio and her career momentarily derailed following the incident, Timberlake — who pulled at Jackson’s bra during the infamous wardrobe malfunction, exposing her breast — faced no repercussions, and even returned to the Super Bowl halftime show as a solo artist.
“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 added. “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 continued: “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.”
Read Timberlake’s entire statement below: