“Cry Me a River” singer Justin Timberlake issued a statement apologizing to ex-girlfriend Britney Spears after a documentary about her life illustrated how he launched his solo career by villainizing the struggling singer.
“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. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” Timberlake wrote on Instagram.
The statement came nearly a week after the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which examines how intense media attention led to the pop stars infamous breakdown and decade long conservatorship battle.
The film featured a 2003 interview Spears endured as Diane Sawyer accused her of causing Timberlake “so much suffering” while prying into their controversial split, after he launched his solo career with a music video that heavily implied Spears had cheated on him.
“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. 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…,” Timberlake continued.
His apology to Jackson comes more than a decade after he exposed her breast during a 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance that led to an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission and Jackson’s blacklisting on MTV and U.S. radio stations.
“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 continued.
Concluding, “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. I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.”