After facing heavy criticism in light of a new documentary about Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake has issued an apology and promised to "do better."
In an Instagram post on Friday, Timberlake said he's "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." In particular, he apologized to both Britney Spears and Janet Jackson "because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed."
Timberlake came under renewed scrutiny in the wake of Framing Britney Spears, a new documentary from The New York Times that highlights tabloid coverage of his relationship with Spears and how they each handled their breakup. The Times' Wesley Morris, for instance, describes how Timberlake "essentially weaponizes the video for one of his singles to incriminate her in the demise of the relationship," referring to the pop star's "Cry Me a River" video.
This section of the documentary also prompted additional backlash focused on the career repercussions Jackson faced after her 2004 Super Bowl halftime show performance with Timberlake, in which he briefly exposed her breast.
"I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism," Timberlake said Friday.
Timberlake wrote that "the industry" is "designed" to set "men, especially white men, up for success," and "I have to be vocal about this" as a "man in a privileged position." He describes his apology as a "first step" that "doesn't absolve the past." He concludes, "I can do better and I will do better." Brendan Morrow