Justin Timberlake has issued an apology to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson amid resurfaced accusations of sexism.
Friday on Twitter, the “Man of the Woods” singer published a lengthy note in which he appears to respond to “Framing Britney Spears,” an FX on Hulu documentary that criticizes Spears’ treatment by a misogynist media.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” the 40-year-old wrote. “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. 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.”
The “New York Times Presents” documentary, which largely focuses on Spears’ conservatorship, also discusses the female pop star’s relationship and March 2002 breakup with Timberlake.
In his 2002 music video for “Cry Me a River,” Timberlake appears to accuse Spears of infidelity by featuring a blonde actress who strongly resembles Spears.
The documentary also played audio from a 2002 radio interview in which Timberlake revealed details about their sex life.
During the 2004 Super Bowl, halftime performers Jackson and Timberlake garnered controversy when Timberlake pulled back part of Jackson’s outfit, exposing her breast. While Jackson bore the brunt of the “wardrobe malfunction” criticism, Timberlake escaped relatively unscathed. (Timberlake would go on to headline the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show in 2008).
According to Refinery29 writer Natalie Morin on Thursday, “The public is reevaluating Justin Timberlake’s ascent to fame, and the reality is crystal clear. The pop golden boy’s career came at the expense of the women around him.”
In his note, Timberlake admits, “The industry is flawed.”
“It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way.” he continued. “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.”
At the end of his apology, Timberlake promises, “I can do better and I will do better.”