Justin Timberlake, who has been the target of accusations of misogyny against Janet Jackson after the “wardrobe malfunction” that took place in the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII, as well as against his former girlfriend Britney Spears has apologized to both of them in an Instagram post.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he 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,” he continued.
He also acknowledged being in a privileged position in the music industry and not realizing it in the past and called the apology a “first step.”
His apology to spears is focused on the time the two dated when they were teenagers, Variety reported. At the time he publicized their private affairs and accused her of cheating on him, something alluded to in his 2002 song “Cry Me a River.”
But one of the more controversial events in his career is when, during a performance at the 2004 game’s halftime show, he ripped part of Jackson’s bustier off, revealing her breast. He has long maintained that it was accidental, but while Timberlake’s career has flourished, Jackson’s career was seriously damaged. She had to issue a public apology for what happened and was barred from attending the 2004 Grammy Awards. Timberlake, on the other hand, did attend the awards and apologized there. She was, at the time, banned from further Super Bowl performances
Her album, Damita Jo, which came out soon after the incident, got scant radio rotation largely due to the controversy surrounding it and later albums failed to gain the multi-platinum success of her earlier albums like Control, janet, and Rhythm Nation 1814. However, more recent tours have managed to attract a fan following that never abandoned her and the five-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.
Timberlake, who has a new film Palmer being released soon, said that his apology “does not absolve the past.”
“I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all this as well as be a part of a world that uplifts and supports,” he said.