In his first public statement since the airing of 'Framing Britney Spears', Justin Timberlake appeared to seek forgiveness from both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson over his silence during the past two decades.
"I've seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond," Timberlake said in a note on his Instagram page. "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."
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"I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism," Timberlake added. "I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed."
Despite his public contrition, the response to Timberlake's apology has been met with widespread skepticism.
Justin Timberlake: pic.twitter.com/ibiEZk4Iha
— The Ringer (@ringer) February 12, 2021
I’m not going to forgive #JustinTimberlake anytime soon, especially since he’s only apologising because of all the pressure that’s been put on him. I would have respected him a lot more if he had come forward of his own accord.#FreeBritney #janetjacksonappreciationday pic.twitter.com/2JbsrwoDBz
— Slayvid Opie 🎃 (@DavidOpie) February 12, 2021
Justin Timberlake isn’t apologizing to Britney Spears at all. If he were, he would call her. He is apologizing so we will forgive him for treating her poorly. It’s not my business to forgive him. That’s between him and Britney.
— Heather O'Neill (@lethal_heroine) February 12, 2021
it took two decades for justin timberlake to apologize to britney spears & janet jackson. it took the whole of society evolving beyond the realm of acceptability for him to recognize his errors.
— haunted talia jane 👻🌻 (@mxtaliajane) February 12, 2021
Justin Timberlake should have apologized for having this hair while he was at it pic.twitter.com/EbGfF3HFUt
— Donavan (Crypt Daddy♿) (@RealYungCripp) February 12, 2021
Timberlake and Spears dated from 1999 up until 2002, when the two abruptly split up with accusations that Spears had been unfaithful. In the documentary 'Framing Britney Spears', the relationship and the media speculation surrounding it is examined, as well as how it impacted on Spears' public profile.
As for Timberlake and Janet Jackson, the latter has only briefly commented on the so-called "wardrobe malfunction" in the intervening years. In an interview on 'Oprah' in 2006, Jackson admitted that she felt "they did put all the emphasis on me, as opposed to us," and added that "(friendship) s very important to me, and certain things you just don't do to friends. In my own time, I'll give him a call."
Neither Janet Jackson nor Britney Spears have publicly commented on Timberlake's apology so far.