Justin Timberlake apologizes to Britney Spears & Janet Jackson: ‘I’m deeply sorry’

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Justin Timberlake has always been a douchebag. He’s always been one of those guys – sorry, one of those white guys – who never faces any consequences, whose PR is made out of teflon. Justin’s ass hurt when Britney Spears dumped him and so he made so much of his early solo career about how she was a cheater who broke his heart, and that she lied about her virginity, etc. Then, a few years later, Justin ripped off Janet Jackson’s costume during the Super Bowl Halftime show, revealing one of Janet’s boobs, and suddenly… Janet was the only one whose career was destroyed.

I could cite more examples, but those two – how he treated Britney and how he treated Janet – were the most well-known examples of Teflon Timberlake, always eager to throw a woman under the bus and walking away unscathed. The Framing Britney Spears doc got people to remember how JT was a suckbaby who got the world to slut-shame Britney. People have been going off about it on social media for the past two weeks. And so now Justin is finally saying something. Here’s his full statement:

“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 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 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 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.

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.”

[From Justin’s IG]

My general feeling is… too little too late? He’s truly only making this statement NOW, as a 40-year-old man, because of the renewed interest and anger around his treatment of Britney and Janet. There were so many moments, so many opportunities for him to stop what he was doing and say “actually, I want to get some sh-t off my chest, I was a total f–king douchebag in this situation and that situation.” The fact that he’s explicitly reacting to a renewed criticism – criticism which has been around for some-odd 18 years!! – is a big problem for me. “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…” Again, he’s 40. The “I was an ignorant kid” defense stopped working a while back. I was a dumbf–k when I was 21/22/23, especially in that same era. But as the times change, people change. The standards we’re held to and the standards we want to uphold change as years pass. And it’s literally taken him this long to merely make a reactive statement after all this time?

, 2001 britney spears and boyfriend justin timberlake at the 28th American Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA  1/8/2001 URW/

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67 Responses to “Justin Timberlake apologizes to Britney Spears & Janet Jackson: ‘I’m deeply sorry’”

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  1. Nev says:

    Sit down trick.

  2. mynameispearl says:

    Oh NOW he sees the comments, tags, and messages?? Bullshiz. People have been saying this for years and years now. 100pc his management company and PR are trying to avoid cancellation and asked him to sign off on this with no input. Hes so gross.

  3. Edna says:

    Too little, too late. Sit down and shut the F—k up.

  4. GG says:

    His statement is self serving. I would like to know if he reached out personally to Brittney and Janet to express his sincerest apologies, or did he just express himself on Instagram for his own benefit… I would think that he would include that he has reached out to these women personally but you can’t do that if you haven’t..

    • Betsy says:

      This is key. Fine statement written by his management (who undoubtedly knows better than we do what a douche he his), but unless he made amends to the women he hurt, it means nothing.

    • Emily says:

      I doubt he’s ever apologized to them personally.

      Teenage boys know that slut shaming is wrong. He did it on an international level, discussing someone else’s virginity with the media. If he figured it out at 25, that’s when the apology should have been made. But we all know he’s still not sorry about Britney — didn’t he passive aggressively go after her Vegas residency as a sign that her career is over just a few years ago?

      In his thirties he made homeless people part of some bad taste joke before his wedding.

      At any age, he’s a douche.

    • lucy2 says:

      Agreed. If he were truly sorry, he’d have reached out to both of them first – and a long time ago. He’s only put this out now to save face because everyone got a reminded of what a d bag he is, and always has been.

  5. Darla says:

    I can’t stand him and never will, so I really can’t say. Nothing he could ever say could change how I think about him…all due to his behavior then.

    • Myra says:

      I feel the same way about him. I’ve never liked him and never will. His too-little-too-late apology is not working for me. I absolutely hate men who gaslight women and shift all blame on them, but to then profit from it? He is a special kind of jerk. I wish cancel culture was real.

  6. Jo73c says:

    ‘The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way.’
    See, it’s not JT’s fault, it’s society’s fault for continually rewarding his douchebaggery. And just like every other time, a half-arsed apology (and ‘society’) will let him continue to behave however he likes.

  7. Belli says:

    Much too little, much too late, only because of the documentary, written by PR and legal and not himself.

    1/10

  8. Watson says:

    This guy literally made his fame off of denigrating his ex by slut shaming her and telling the world he fucked her a d that he was a victim of cheating and letting a black woman take the fall for a choreography decision they both made. He even let people think he did the falsetto at the end of “cry me a river” when that too was the effort of a black woman whom he never talked about. Hated him for years. Not stopping now.

  9. line says:

    Too little to late

  10. B says:

    I doubt the douche even wrote that. Even if he did, too late. Maybe his forthcoming “statement/reflection/apology” will mention his cheating on multiple partners…

  11. Xantha says:

    He’s not taking any real accountability here. If he was being honest he would apologize to Britney for exploiting their breakup to further his solo career(Seriously, where would his solo career be without CMAR?) and he would apologize to Janet for leaving her to be blackballed by the industry for something the both of them did. He’s the white guy who acts like he’s down with black folk until the cops show up which then he rats out everyone to save his own skin. His white privilege is pratically blinding at this point.

    Put me in the category of people who never liked him.

  12. readingissexy says:

    Any humanities/media academics out there or pop culture writers? I’ve been waiting YEARS for someone to do an analysis of Timberlake’s trio of music videos that focus on women being surveilled in different forms: What Goes Around Comes Around, Cry Me a River, and Sexyback.

    PS: I loathe him. Literally the opposite of any man I would consider dating or befriending. Pompous, self serving, manipulative….I mean, the list goes on.

    • Emily says:

      I’d love to read that! You should try your hand at writing it.

      • readingissexy says:

        Kinda funny—I am an academic, actually, but my specialty is 19th century US literature. And I am already behind on my own research! However, I guess I could always do it for fun! Because I think he is such a jerk and waste of space, lol.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    Whatever Justin. He has a movie out now (the one where he cheated on his wife and left his co-star hanging) and he’s supposed to be bringing a new album in the future. The apology wasn’t genuine and too late.

    • lucy2 says:

      Ah there it is. Needed to combat the bad publicity and try to head off any tough questions.

      Who keeps hiring him for movies? He’s a terrible actor.

  14. L84Tea says:

    I finally watched the documentary this past weekend. I was amazed by how many details I’d forgotten about them. But yikes, yeah, JT is such a douche nozzle.

  15. Nina Simone says:

    He can keep it. He knew how his actions affected Brit and Janet. His career literally soared while theirs were impacted (particularly Janet). Not only that, there are videos on Twitter of him mocking them on snl and at concerts. Which to me indicated his cruelty. People have been asking him for years to own up to it but he’s remained silent. Now he wants to apologize? On his terms? And refusing to specify what he did? Nope! Go to hell Justin.

  16. Nina Simone says:

    By the way, he was totally deleting critical comments on his post. My comment got reported and I saw other people complaining.. so much for a changed man right ?

  17. Amy says:

    This might be an unpopular opinion-and yes he DID need to apologize. But—-I feel like a lot of gossip sites and people like myself (and probably others here) need to remember we all helped in at least laughing at and making fun of Britney’s downfall. Gossip sites had a FIELD day with Britney’s breakdown. I remember it vividly, how absolutely rabid people were when she was shaving her head, attacking paparazzi, and what ended up putting her in the hospital on that psych hold. We’ve all done a disservice to Britney.

    But still, eff Justin. He’s always been awful.

    • Yoyo says:

      There is a video with Justin performing and grabbing a guy’s chest, re-enacting the Janet scene, total douche bag.

      • Amy says:

        Oh, I realize he is terrible for many, MANY reasons. But the reason gossip sites exist is because of people like us. And when the Britney and Janet situations happened-gossip sites and people like us had a great time talking about it. I don’t remember a lot about the Janet situation (I had a lot going on in my life at the time so I honestly don’t remember paying much attention to the backlash) but when Britney’s breakdown happened-I remember all of that vividly.

    • Darla says:

      I saw another gossip blog making this case. “we all” “we all” “we all”. Um, no. That’s the old if everyone’s guilty nobody’s guilty tactic. That particular writer is guilty of that and so much more, but I’m not. I always hated Timberlake, and recognized the isht Britney AND Janet received was migogynistic. I’m Gen X, an old riot grrrl so maybe that’s why, I don’t know, but I’m not wearing this hat, sorry.

      • Myriam says:

        THANK YOU, DARLA! Between my teens to early 20s, I always recognized the horror happening to Britney Spears. Never once did I laugh, never once did I buy the magazine with her on the front page, never once did I make a comment about her, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about her to even friends. I always felt sad for her. ALWAYS! And I canceled JT the second he uttered his rendition of “It wasn’t me” and threw Janet way under the bus. I recognized all that shit. So no, WE are not to blame.

      • Jezebel's Lacefront says:

        He’s full of caca. Period. I’m a Gen. Xer too. This behavior’s his thing. I expect nothing less.

      • Sharp says:

        I’m Gen X too and agree with Darla and Myriam. Never a fan but never laughed at her or found it to be juicy gossip, just a sad breakdown.

    • lucy2 says:

      I never followed her that closely other than the gossip stuff, and I probably said unkind things about her then, not knowing the full scope of what she was going through. I regret that. Over the past few years I’ve learned more about what happened to her, and that documentary really put it all together well.

  18. My3cents says:

    Guys, he’s grown and matured so much in 20 years!
    Next baby announcement he might actually leave his partner’s head in the frame , not just her uterus!
    Please. Fragile ego baby got called out.

  19. Digital Unicorn says:

    Sad pathetic statement just like him – he’s made his apology all about how he’s a victim too, a poor innocent victim of the industry.

    I’ve always thought that part of the issue he had with Brit was the she was mega successful on her own right from the beginning, whereas he started off in a boy band (and he wasn’t even the lead singer – wasn’t it JC?). Even his solo career was never in her league.

    Both Britney and Janet were and still are, bigger than he is.

  20. Sunday says:

    CRY ME A RIVER, DIRTBAG.

  21. Danielle says:

    Waaaaay too little, too late!

    I also, echo the above; I hope he reached out personally to Britney and to Janet to apologise. I do find it very impersonal as it stands and it also doesn’t sit right with me about Britney. Yes, he was so shitty to Janet, but he was in a relationship with Britney for years and they knew each other from childhood. She wasn’t just some work colleague. How he treated her after their breakup and the years after is horrible. I really think that the breakup with Justin and the media frenzy that he whipped up over it was the real beginning of Britney’s issues.

    It’s crazy to think back on it now, but she was actually so young in that relationship and only 20 when they broke up. The whole thing about the obsession with her virginity around that time makes me fill ill. I cannot imagine what it’s like to have the media discuss that and to have your former partner partake and enjoy talking about intimate parts of your life. It’s such a huge violation of trust and quite traumatic.

  22. Sof says:

    Edti: I found the video I was talking about, not form backstage but a deleted scene from her reality. I think it’s the only time I saw her adress Justin’s behaviour
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUvBqHlHDeQ

    Funny how Justin appeared less than five minutes in the documentary and it was enough for everyone to remember all he did back in the day.

    • Meg says:

      ‘its cool when guys complain about women…’
      Yep but when a woman says something about a man shes a man hater

    • StormsMama says:

      Thanks for that link!
      I enjoyed that so much.
      Britney was right.
      And ahead of her time too.

  23. grabbyhands says:

    He’s sorry that he’s finally getting called out on it and that he now has to pretend he has regrets.

  24. Jezebel's Lacefront says:

    “I’m sorry that my career and name’s being tarnished, so let me put something out to save both.” If he was truly sorry, he would’ve done this years ago, not when prompted by others’ anger.

    He’s a joke.

    • lucy2 says:

      Exactly.
      Janet was forced to apologize, and had her music pulled out of rotation, and her career has suffered greatly for it for many years. And all the while he never defended her or even took any responsibility, and got to enjoy a soaring career.

  25. Bath Lady says:

    Lainey has always called it right in referencing him. Love her articles from way back on JT!

    • Sharp says:

      Yes, I remember her starting from years back having a clear view of JT and how he has used Britney for his solo career.

  26. Margot says:

    #neverforget

  27. Anna says:

    F— him and his bullshit apologies. He had nothing to say for 20 f-ing years and now because the shit is hitting the fan, he wants to perform apologies? B.S.! He’s not sorry and no one better believe this nonsense. It’s beyond nonsense; it’s insulting, misogynist, and deeply disrespectful to both Janet and Britney. Janet especially and he had nothing to say? Used her on one of the biggest platforms in the world, *ASSAULTED* her in front of the world, and as is typical in our white supremacist societies, he got away with it as a white man and it was the Black woman who ended up vilified and cast out. F— all of this. I’m so f-ing tired of white men and their b.s. apologies years after the fact for their gross abuse and only doing so because it affects their bottom line. No one is buying it.

  28. Amando says:

    He’s always been one of those entitled frat boy jerks and I’m glad he’s getting called out on his behavior – even though it’s 20 years too late. I also hope he reached out personally to Janet and Britney to apologize.

  29. BnLurkN4eva says:

    I hated what happened to Brittney at the time and never commented on her because thankfully, I knew better. I also remember that once regular people realized that something was wrong mentally, she received a great deal of support on this site just like when people understood something was mentally off with Amanda, there was a lot of support on this site for her, I can’t speak to other sites. As for Janet, I will never forgive Justin for his behavior after that performance and he was being called out at the time it went down to support Janet and he didn’t. He was in a position to defend her and acted the coward and crawled away like a worm. Janet could not come back after that happened and Justin the rat abandoned her to face the music on her own instead of standing united with her. The pearl clutchers got on their high horses and an incredible career as a singer came to an abrupt halt in the mainstream. A pax on Justin, I do not accept his apology.

  30. Jaded says:

    Making a public apologia clearly written by some PR hack is not the way to vindicate himself. He should have done it privately and in person many years ago. This is the coward’s way out. This is a guy who sang “Dick in a Box” on SNL. That says it all about his selfishness, immaturity and fame-whoring.

  31. MA says:

    I will never take a written apology by a problematic celebrity seriously. Easiest thing in the world for them to pay for a PR statement carefully crafted to make them sound “woke”. I want to see someone in the national media press him on live TV, the way Janet and Britney were cruelly humiliated to answer for their “crimes”.

  32. Tiffany says:

    This is a dude whose friends knew that he would get a kick out of a video of homeless people congratulating him on his then upcoming marriage, while on a private plane to Italy for said wedding.

    So no, I do not think he is sincere.

  33. Amy Too says:

    This: “I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually…” is a nonsense sentence. It could be used in one of those online articles entitled something like “20 of the Most Nonsensical Oxymorons.” He wants to apologize SPECIFICALLY (which indicates to one particular person) to 2 different women. He wants to apologize to them BOTH (2 people) INDIVIDUALLY (indicating a single person).

  34. Kaykay says:

    Uum,
    Like that nipple thing wasn’t planned? I beg to differ.
    At the end of the song he literally sings “Bet I’ll have you naked by the end of this song”, while he without any visibel effort rips off a perfect patch of her corset top. Go play it on youtube on 0.25 speed. It’s clear he’s searching for some type of hook or a snap and lifts it right off.
    You can also tell she’s in on it. Her face shows no confusion while he is stroking her boob, looking for the hook to uncover the boob. Also, her nippled is covered with som uncomfortable looking metal star/flower, not just regular boob tape. Why so if the boob wasn’t meant to be exposed? Third, when the boob is out in the open she acts mildly surprised but dosen’t even bother to cover or shield her breast. She’s just like “oops!”, and then the lights go out … It was planned guys, what are you all talking about?

    All that aside, I had no clue she got in trouble after this and the fact that she did [get in trouble] is fucked up. It’s just a boob, not even showing a nipple, and it fits with the song. Yes. It IS fucked up that her career got affected by it and I’m sorry it happened her.

    And yes, I dislike Justin Timberlake as he seems to be an ass, just like so many other celebs who become famous at a young age. So I don’t mind him getting shit, but to say the boob stunt wasn’t planned? Come on …

    • lucy2 says:

      The “official” story is that tear away was planned but her red bra thing was supposed to stay on, got caught on the other piece, and came off with it. I agree with a lot of your points questioning that, but the big issue is whatever was planned, Janet took all the blame for it and he just shrugged it off and kept going with his career.

    • Meg says:

      thought it was to be torn off to reveal something underneath a red top i believe not her bear breast

    • Sharp says:

      I thought the consensus was / everyone recognises what happened was exactly what was planned; the issue was JT didn’t come forward to take the “blame” with Janet Jackson but left her out there in the cold to fend for herself.

  35. Yawn says:

    Take a thousand seats you a$$hat… you’ve built a whole career out of stomping on women to get ahead, and now the chickens have come home to roost… enjoy the social beating you dip$hit, it’s been a long time coming.

  36. Juju says:

    And of course Jessica Biel jumped to his side. He cheated on her and the whole Brintey and Janet situation is horrible. I wonder when she’ll wake up.

  37. shanaynay says:

    F him. Too little, too late! Where was his apology years ago? What is he promoting something? That’s usually the only reason an a-hole like him would apologize now after all these years. JT needs to STFU, and go away for good.

  38. Holly hobby says:

    He is not aging well. He looks like an angry MAGAT in the current pictures. I guess he got the face he deserves.