After years of outcry, rage, and public demands, Justin Timberlake has finally apologized for how he treated both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson in the media — and as far as I’m concerned — it’s too little, too late. Following the release of Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times Presents series for FX and Hulu, the public’s outrage over Timberlake’s treatment of Spears following their breakup has reignited, and this time he has no choice but to address it.
According to Timberlake, he is “deeply sorry for the times in [his] life where [his] actions contributed to the problem,” and “where [he] spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right.” He acknowledges that he “benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.” He furthers that “this apology is a first step and does not absolve the past.”
For those unfamiliar with the story, Justin Timberlake spent the better part a the year capitalizing on his breakup with Britney Spears, implying that “Cry Me a River” was based on the true story of Spears’s infidelity. While she might have been unfaithful, the subsequent punishment she received from the media did not fit the crime. In fact, Timberlake even bragged about their sexual exploits in interviews that followed their breakup.
When Timberlake saw the media pounce on his former love, he did absolutely nothing to stop it. Years later, during her very public breakdown, he also remained silent. When a man in a position of power, or a man who once loved a woman sees her in trouble, it would only make sense for him to do anything to stop it. Timberlake did no such thing.
Janet Jackson was treated no better. The duo performed together the Super Bowl when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed at the hand of Timberlake who seemingly ripped off her bra cup. The subsequent backlash exclusively surrounded Jackson with Timberlake getting off scot free. True to form, he even joked about it. At any point in time he could have absorbed even a modicum of Jackson’s heat, but he instead took the easy way out — his advantage being her deficit.
I like when people apologize for their past misdeeds, I just don’t like when they apologize to get the social-media-mob off their back. Timberlake has known for years how the public felt about his silence, and he just couldn’t be bothered to address it. Why should we believe him now?