Justin Timberlake finally apologises to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson: ‘I benefited from misogyny and racism’

Patrick Kelleher
·2-min read

Justin Timberlake has finally apologised to Janet Jackson and Britney Spears, acknowledging that he benefited from misogyny and racism in the music industry as a white man.

Timberlake played a part in Jackson’s career being derailed after he tore part of her costume off onstage during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in 2004, resulting in her nipple being exposed for less than one second.

In the weeks afterwards, Jackson had her invitation to perform at the Grammys revoked and had her music blacklisted. Timberlake, meanwhile, walked away unscathed.

In recent days, he has faced increased scrutiny over his relationship with Britney Spears, which lasted three years after the pair started dating in 1999.

Following their high-profile break-up, Timberlake hinted that Spears had been unfaithful in his song “Cry Me a River” and went on to boast about having sex with her in radio interviews.

Since the release of documentary Framing Britney Spears, Timberlake has faced backlash over his treatment of the singer, with many calling him out on social media for using their split to boost his own career.

Justin Timberlake admits that he ‘failed’ Janet Jackson and Britney Spears.

Justin Timberlake responded to the backlash in an Instagram post on Friday (12 February).

“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,” the former NSYNC singer wrote.

“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 apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”

Justin Timberlake said “everyone involved deserves better”, before adding: “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way.”

He said he has a duty to speak out about inequality in the industry because of his “privileged position”.

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

“Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognise 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.

“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.”

He added: “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 Jackson have not yet responded to Timberlake’s public apology.