"Crossroads" Hollywood Premiere

Justin Timberlake issues apology to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson

20 years later

Justin Timberlake took to Instagram on Friday to issue an apology to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, both of whom he hurt, publicly, years ago.

Following Framing Britney Spears, the new documentary about the pop star’s life and all the hardships she’s still facing, fans have been calling on Timberlake to apologize for how he treated his ex-girlfriend following their relationship in 2002. The segment covering their break-up was a short part of the doc, but included Justin bragging about taking Britney’s virginity–something she admitted to feeling “exploited and weird” about after.

Because of all the backlash, JT finally took the time to apologize to his former love interest along with Janet Jackson, whom he never stepped up to defend her after the wardrobe malfunction during their performance at the Super Bowl in 2004.

“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” Timberlake wrote in his statement. “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 feel short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

He continued, “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 part of and grow from.”

Then, Justin goes on to address the industry as a whole, admitting that he benefitted from the system and how flawed it is.

“The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success,” he continued. “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.”

“I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career,” he wrote. “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.”

He concluded his statement, writing, “I care deeply about the wellbeing of people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.”

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