Justin Timberlake finally released an apology statement surrounding his poor treatment of former girlfriend Britney Spears and co-headliner at the 2004 Super Bowl Janet Jackson. We’ve all been waiting for this day to come, but it honestly doesn’t feel that great. The internet basically had to force him to say something, even though he’s had decades to make this happen — and his words feel hollow at this point.
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote on Instagram. “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.”
What bugs us this most is that we’ve had this information for a long time, which means he has also known how the public has felt over the years. It crept back upon him when he headlined the Super Bowl in 2018, and the Framing Britney Spears documentary is finally hitting him in the face. It’s a situation of too little, too late now.
“I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism,” Timberlake 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.”
And boy, did he benefit from these two situations. He launched his solo career on the heels of exploiting Spears’ virginity and constantly discussing the alleged infidelity of the “Baby One More Time” singer in the press. With Jackson, he happily soldiered on after the wardrobe malfunction without a care in the world while the “Rhythm Nation” star found herself blackballed in the music industry. To quote the infamous words of Lauren Conrad on The Hills,””You know what you did!”
What happens next is entirely up to the former boy-bander because cancel culture can be just as toxic as Timberlake’s misogynistic actions. He has an opportunity to turn this around by showing how truly sorry he is — demonstrating growth in understanding his male privilege, working with anti-racism groups and learning to lead by example. He has half-heartedly apologized in the past, including to his then-pregnant wife Jessica Biel for his “lapse in judgment” in New Orleans last year. So now is the time to show us what you’ve got — because we’re honestly tired of your antics.
Before you go, click here to see every Super Bowl halftime performer since 1993.