The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” revived not only public interest in her ongoing conservatorship battle, but criticism of Justin Timberlake and his actions involving both his ex-girlfriend and Janet Jackson.
On Friday, after being tagged in a number of scathing posts, Timberlake took to Instagram to issue a lengthy apology to both stars, taking accountability for his behavior and pledging to “do better” going forward.
“In addition to reviving public interest in her ongoing environmental war, the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” renewed criticism of Justin Timberlake and his actions surrounding both his ex-girlfriend and Janet Jackson.
Timberlake took to Instagram on Friday, after being tagged in a number of scathing messages, to give a long apology to both stars, accepting responsibility for his actions and promising to “do better” going forward.
In complete, here’s his message:
I‘ve felt 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.
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.
Also I 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.
‘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.
Personally I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.
Spears and Timberlake were four years old when they formally separated in 2002. “Britney was painted at the time as the victim of their split, with Timberlake also using a Spears look-alike for his music video for “Cry Me a River,” a cheating girlfriend song. The documentary also went on to point out the several times Timberlake bragged after their breakup about having sex with Spears—and showed footage of Diane Sawyer accusing her for “breaking [Justin’s] heart.”
As for Janet, after their controversial halftime show in which he revealed her breast, fans have always been unhappy with Timberlake.
Timberlake’s wife, Jessica Biel, left a comment on the post. “I love you,” she wrote, along with a heart emoji.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile was also one of the first to leave a comment on Timberlake’s post, saying it was “really beautiful to read this.” She added, “I think it’s going to speak to a lot of people’s pain. I can’t wait to see how you get involved with elevating women and marginalized people. You’re an inspiring dude to me.”
Singer-songwriter and wife of Chris Stapleton, who recorded a song with Timberlake — said she was “proud to call” Timberlake “friend.”
Allen Evangelista, who appeared on 10 episodes of “Zoey 101” with Britney’s sister Jamie Lynn Spears, also left a comment reading, “Words matter, and putting the ego aside to apologize and strive to do better matters. I feel like the bar has been set so low as of late where this is refreshing to see. Yet the most important part is what you do from now on. Either way, I think this is a great start.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “America’s Got Talent” star/famed Britney impersonator Derrick Barry also wrote, “You were just a kid as well in those times. Navigating a solo career & how to deal with your own fame. Thank you for recognizing that these 2 women deserved more from you when the public & media turned their back on them.”
The post was also liked by actress JoJo, Zachary Levi, Eiza Gonzalez and “Real Housewives of New York” star Leah McSweeney.
So far, no other celebs have chimed in on his apology, but the comments on his Instagram page have been flooded with reactions on both sides of the aisle.
One of the most liked replies reads, “Now Justin … why in the world did it take you being called out in a documentary and not the years upon years of the public asking for you to simply apologize for your behavior? This is disingenuous af.”
“Hope you’re reaching out to them personally too and not just doing this as a PR stunt,” wrote another. “Alexa play too little too late by jojo,” read another. One popular comment also asked Timberlake to “be more specific.”
Others wrote more complimentary posts like, “Very noble first ste. Keep going. We fans appreciate the accountability” and “Let’s everyone remember he was very young then and people at that age don’t always do and say the right things. The most important thing is to grow and change from it.”
See more popular reactions on Twitter below: