Justin Timberlake apologizes to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson: 'I know I failed'
Justin Timberlake is owning his mistakes.
"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 of misogyny and racism," the singer-actor wrote in a statement posted to his Instagram Friday morning. "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."
Over the last week, Timberlake has come under fire for his treatment of both women, prompted by last Friday's release of FX's documentary Framing Britney Spears. Samantha Stark's film, which chronicles Spears' tumultuous life in the spotlight and the media scrutiny she's received throughout, included the event of Timberlake and Spears' 2002 breakup. The film portrays Timberlake as having controlled the narrative surrounding the highly publicized split by discreetly tapping into our society's inherent misogyny, boasting about their sex life in interviews, and casting a Britney lookalike as an unfaithful girlfriend in the "Cry Me a River" music video.
Amid the outrage stoked by the documentary, last Sunday's Super Bowl reminded fans of Timberlake's history with Jackson as well, when they performed "Rock Your Body" together in the 2004 game's halftime show. During the performance, Timberlake pulled at Jackson's costume, ripping off a piece of her bodice and briefly exposing her breast, resulting in the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" that adversely affected Jackson's career significantly more than it did Timberlake's.
"I've seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond," the actor-singer acknowledged at the top of the post before singling out Spears and Jackson. "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…"
"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," he continues. "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 concluded: "I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better."