Monday, February 15, 2021



The February 5 premiere of the documentary “Framing Britney Spears” on FX and its subsequent streaming availability on Hulu has shone a spotlight on the career of pop star Britney Spears, and how she had been set up as a target victim by the same culture that idolized her. Amidst feelings of discomfort from her fans came a rising wave of contrition for their indirect culpability, and indignation at various personalities that have benefitted at Spears’ expense, among them her father and financial conservator Jamie Spears, critical interviewer Diane Sawyer, and former boyfriend Justin Timberlake. He was especially lambasted on social media and flood with insistent calls that he apologize.

And so he did on Friday last week as BBC tells it. A post on his Instagram page dated February 12 saw Justin Timberlake issuing apologies to one-time girlfriend Britney Spears as well as to Janet Jackson, popularly perceived as another major victim from association with the recording artist in 2004 during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. In a lengthy post the former NSYNC boy band member stated he was sorry for the controversial actions he had done at both women’s expense, describing such as having “benefitted from a system condoning misogyny and racism.”

"I've seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” Timberlake’s message began. “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 specifically want to apologize to Britney…and Janet… because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.” The star also noted that the entertainment industry as it stands did seem to prioritize success for men, and that he must take accountability for having allowed himself to prosper off it.

Justin Timberlake’s relationship with Britney Spears lasted from about 1999 to 2003. He later admitted in a radio interview that they had been physically intimate then pinned responsibility Spears for ending things. Timberlake even called it out irreverently with a Britney lookalike in the music video for his song “Cry Me a River.” Fans sided with Justin and blamed Spears, beginning a gradual negative turn in public perception against her. Janet Jackson performed with Justin during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime, where he tore part of her clothes and exposed one of her nipples in the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” incident.

Britney herself has remained cordial with Timberlake, particularly in social media where she expresses her respect for his musical artistry. Janet meanwhile has not directly responded to Justin’s message, though she did leave a touching video shout-out to her fans on Twitter last Valentine’s Day.

Image courtesy of The Guardian


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