Justin Timberlake publicly apologized Friday to Britney Spears following the release of a documentary that makes the case that he waged a smear campaign against her after their 2002 breakup.
He also said sorry to Janet Jackson for the infamous incident at the half-time show at the 2004 Super Bowl when he exposed Jackson’s nipple by pulling on her costume.
In a statement posted on his social media accounts, the 40-year-old singer-actor said he’s “seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns” since the release of FX’s “Framing Britney Spears” and wanted 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 also apologized to singer Janet Jackson for the fallout she endured after he exposed her nipple by pulling on her costume as they performed together at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
Jackson was barred from the Grammy Awards ceremony that year due to the “wardrobe malfunction,” while the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences allowed Timberlake to take part after he agreed to apologize on air.
Timberlake said he wanted to apologize to Spears and 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 a 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.”
Timberlake said “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 a 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.”
The documentary has also drawn attention to Spears’ ongoing court battle over the conservatorship she was placed under in 2008 after she went through an extended period of exhibiting bizarre behavior, including shaving her head.
At a hearing Thursday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said she expects Spears’ father and trust company to work together to develop an investment plan and budget for the benefit of the 39-year-old pop star, despite the singer’s stated displeasure with her father’s role as the co-conservator of her estate.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny set another hearing for March 17 for updates on the progress made by Jamie Spears and the Bessemer Trust Co., which are sharing the management of his daughter’s business affairs.
The documentary’s release re-energized many of Spears’ fans, who have actively participated in an online “FreeBritney” campaign calling for an end to the oversight of her life and affairs. A large contingent of fans, most carrying brightly colored pink signs proclaiming support for Spears, was present outside the west entrance of the courthouse Thursday.
Attorneys for Jamie Spears have repeatedly insisted he has done excellent work managing his daughter’s finances. But in 2019, Spears canceled her Las Vegas residency and checked into a mental health facility after revealing that her father was sick. She has not performed live since, and her attorneys have said she won’t do so again while her father controls her affairs.
Spears herself has never directly addressed the situation, although fans have taken to closely analyzing her social media posts, looking for any signs she may be trying to communicate with her fans or showing signs of personal distress.
In a Twitter post this week, Spears wrote, “Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories!!!! We all have so many different bright beautiful lives!!!! Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens!!!”
Spears also posted a video of her performing her song “Toxic” three years ago, writing, “I’ll always love being on stage …. but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person …. I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life !!!!”
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