Justin Timberlake has issued a public apology to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson.
The singer had faced renewed scrutiny following the release of a new documentary which examines how Britney – who Justin dated from 1999 to 2002 – was placed under conservatorship in 2008.
Freeing Britney Spears looks at how the singer was vilified in the media after their split, and features an old interview where Justin indicated that he’d cast a Britney lookalike as a cheating ex-girlfriend in his video for Cry Me A River.
Justin has also long been criticised for failing to properly show up for Janet after their performance at the Super Bowl in 2004, where he accidentally exposed the singer’s breast after a wardrobe malfunction.
It caused a national outcry in the US, with Janet’s career ultimately suffering as a result, while Justin continued to have huge success.
Addressing both matters with a statement on Instagram, Justin said he wanted to apologise to both women individually “because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed”.
He wrote: “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.
“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.”
He continued: “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 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.”
Following Janet and Justin’s appearance at the Super Bowl, Janet had her performance at the 2004 Grammys – which took place just seven days later – unceremoniously dropped in the fallout.
Justin, meanwhile, not only performed during the show but took home Album Of The Year, even cracking a joke about the Super Bowl during his acceptance speech.
In his new apology, Justin added: “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.”
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