The Hollywood Reporter‘s 2017 Women in Entertainment breakfast may have been all about celebrating women, but let’s take just a second to recognize Justin Timberlake, who was there just to tell his fellow men it’s time to step up and amplify women’s voices. Considering the tone in Hollywood these days, as women rise up and overthrow the ages-old culture of sexual assault and harassment, Timberlake’s words are even more poignant.
“Strong, beautiful souls. I’m happy to be here to be your arm candy. Angelina [Jolie] warned me that I was basically only here to be objectified, so that’s absolutely fair,” he said during his speech.
Timberlake continued, “I was raised by a strong woman. I was lucky enough to convince a strong woman to marry me, and she got nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award today. I will be her bitch anytime.”
He then turned his focus to the men in attendance and made his challenge to them.
“To the men in this room: I see a lot of great men who I also look up to. I think we actually are here because we deserve the opportunity to speak up, to stand when something is not right,” he said. “We need to go to work. It’s not our responsibility. It’s our privilege because at the end of the day if you can be lucky enough to be raised by a strong woman and convince a strong woman to marry you, you will realize that we are nothing without the strength of women.”
In my opinion, Timberlake is wrong about one thing. This is not men’s privilege. It absolutely is their responsibility to stand up for women. Men are responsible for creating the culture that has victimized and disadvantaged women. And men are responsible for fixing it.
But overall, his sentiments were right. So, thanks to Timberlake for standing up for what’s right.