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Justin Timberlake joins entertainment figures in apologising to Britney Spears

It was put in place in 2008 following Spears’ five-day psychiatric hold and was set to expire in 2009, but remains in place.

In recent years, the legal case has spawned the #FreeBritney movement, made up of angry fans.

Comedian and actor Sarah Silverman.

Comedian and actor Sarah Silverman.

A court hearing on Thursday rejected an appeal by Spears’ father Jamie Spears for more control over her finances.

He was attempting to regain some power lost when a judge named a private trust company as co-conservator for the singer.

Britney Spears’ lawyer has previously said she is “afraid” of her father. On Thursday, he said it was “no secret” she did not want her father to have control over her finances.

“We are all to blame for what happened to Britney Spears – we may not have caused her downfall, but we funded it,” Glamour magazine wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

The phrase “we are sorry, Britney” has spread across social media, accompanied by demands for apologies from those who ridiculed her throughout the 2000s.

Those rallying around Spears include Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Stone, Cher, Ellie Goulding, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, and Bette Midler.

In his apology, Timberlake said he had benefitted “from a system that condones misogyny” and said that he had “contributed to the problem”.

In the lengthy social media post, Timberlake apologised to Spears and also to pop star Janet Jackson “because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.”


“I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond. 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,” he wrote on Friday, US time.

Framing Britney Spears features an old interview when Timberlake spoke about sleeping with his former girlfriend and indicated that he ridiculed her by hiring a look-a-like for his Cry Me a River music video.

Fans called out Timberlake for contributing to Spears’ very public breakdown and controlling the narrative about the end of their relationship.

More backlash hit Timberlake as social media began to recall the wardrobe malfunction with Jackson that caused a national controversy at the 2004 Super Bowl. Some argued that Jackson, as a black woman, fell victim to a racist and sexist double standard and received harsher treatment than Timberlake, as a white man, did and that he benefited from “white male privilege.”

And the NFL’s decision to invite Timberlake to perform at the halftime show three years ago triggered a backlash from women, minorities and others who felt Jackson was unfairly forced to pay a far higher price than Timberlake.


“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,” he wrote. “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. 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.”

“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 part of a world that uplifts and supports,” Timberlake wrote. “I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better.”

Jackson was also a trending topic around the 2018 Super Bowl and after, with the hashtags #JusticeforJanet and #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay going strong on social media before Timberlake’s record third trip to the stage at the Super Bowl.

The Telegraph, London; AP

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