Framing Britney Spears director Samantha Stark has said the singer deserves an apology from all the people who worked with Justin Timberlake on “Cry Me a River”.
Timberlake issued an apology to Spears on Friday (12 February) for the way he treated her in the aftermath of their break-up in 2002.
After their three-year relationship came to an end, Timberlake released the “Cry Me a River” music video, which saw him stalking a Britney Spears lookalike and watching her as she showered. The video famously suggested that Spears may have been unfaithful.
Timberlake publicly apologised to Spears on Instagram as backlash mounted against him following the release of New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears. Now, the documentary’s director has pointed out that Timberlake was not alone in creating the music video.
“Justin’s apology, it got me thinking about how many ‘yeses’ Justin had to get to get to the place where he is right now,” Stark told CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.
Stark asked everybody who she interviewed for the documentary what happens in the “Cry Me a River” music video.
Britney Spears was targeted from the very youngest age in the worst possible, hypersexualized way and it’s shocking to revisit it today.
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) February 15, 2021
“Everybody said: ‘Isn’t that the video where Britney cheats on Justin, a Britney look-alike?’ And what actually happens in the video is that Justin essentially follows a Britney lookalike home, hides in her closet and watches her shower, and then put a sex tape of himself with another woman on her TV and runs away. That is actually what happens in the music video.”
Timberlake’s apology got Stark thinking about “how many different people were involved” in creating the salacious music video.
A lot of people need to ‘reflect and apologise’ to Britney Spears.
“Justin doesn’t make it by himself,” she said, pointing out that it had to get through so many different people before it ended up on television.
The song, Stark said, made Timberlake a star.
“It made him successful, that was his first real successful album.”
She added: “I think there’s a lot of people that need to reflect and apologise as well, because it’s not just Justin. He’s the face of it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Stark reflected on the “ethical conflict” she faced in making a documentary about Spears.
“I’ve never made a piece without the participation of the main person,” Stark said.
“I think that the one thing that I really wanted to do was not ever assume what was inside Britney’s head. Everybody wants to tell you everything about Britney Spears, everything about what she’s thinking. It just feels like anybody you talk to has a think piece already made up about Britney, so we really didn’t want to talk to those people.
“We didn’t want to assume what was in her head,” she added.
Framing Britney Spears has taken the world by storm since its release. It will air in the UK on Tuesday evening (16 February) on Sky Documentaries.
Public interest in the signer has reached a fever pitch over the last year, ever since she launched a legal battle to be freed from a 12-year long court ordered conservatorship, which sees her father maintain control over her career, finances and personal life.
The conservatorship, first introduced following her mental health crisis in 2008, has been upheld by the courts, despite the singer’s pleas for autonomy.