Justin Timberlake apologises to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson after being accused of misogyny

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Singer Justin Timberlake has apologised to former girlfriend Britney Spears and singer Janet Jackson, saying he "benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism".

Timberlake has been accused of misogyny over the way he treated Spears during their relationship and break up, as well as a performance he did with Jackson at the Super Bowl in 2004 where he exposed her breast.

People had been calling for him to apologise after the airing of the documentary Framing Britney Spears, which revisits his public boasts that he had slept with Spears and his claims that she cheated on him.

After tabloids pinned their break up on Spears' alleged infidelity, Timberlake released his 2002 single Cry Me a River, where the music video about an unfaithful lover featured a Spears lookalike.

Justin Timberlake had been facing calls to apologise after the airing of a new documentary about Britney Spears Credit: PA

Spears and Timberlake were in a relationship in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before splitting in 2002.

Jackson also faced media condemnation and was banned from a Grammys after Timberlake exposed her breast on live TV while they performed at the Super Bowl in 2004. Meanwhile, Timberlake faced no professional consequences.

As he sang the lyric “I’ll have you naked by the end of this song”, Timberlake pulled at a part of Jackson’s costume, exposing her right breast, which was covered only by a silver decoration.

Janet Jackson faced condemnation after Justin Timberlake exposed her breast during a live TV performance Credit: PA

In an Instagram post, Timberlake, 40, said: “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 fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.

“I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”

He added that he felt “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”.

Timberlake said his industry is “flawed”, adding: “It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed that way.

“As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this.

“Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognise 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.”

He said his apology is a “first step and doesn’t absolve the past”.

“I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better,” he said.

Timberlake’s wife of nine years, actress Jessica Biel, shared her support, commenting underneath his post: “I love you,” before adding a love heart emoji.