After years of criticism for his treatment of Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, pop star Justin Timberlake released a rare apology on Friday morning on his Instagram account.
The apology is a rare move for Timberlake, who has mostly dodged taking accountability for the role he had in both Spears’s and Jackson’s career troubles.
Timberlake, who dated Spears for three years in the early 2000s.
“The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this,” he wrote to his nearly 60 million followers. “Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize 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.”
“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” Timberlake wrote. “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 apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed,” he added. “I also feel 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.”
“I have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career. I know this apology is a first step and doesn’t absolve the past. I want to take accountability for my own missteps in all of this as well as be a part of a world that uplifts and supports,” he concluded. “I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.”