The "SexyBack" hitmaker has faced a backlash following the recent premiere of Hulu documentary "Framing Britney Spears", which examines her rise to pop superstardom, her 2008 meltdown, and her ongoing conservatorship battle, and the sexist way her struggles were covered in the press.
Timberlake was briefly featured in the film, highlighting how he capitalised on their 2002 break-up as he launched his solo career by boasting about taking the pop superstar's virginity and fuelling rumours suggesting she had cheated on him with his hit song "Cry Me a River", which featured a Britney lookalike in the accompanying music video.
Two years later, Timberlake hit headlines again for his role in Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Halftime Show shocker, as he ripped off part of her corset and exposed her breast. The incident was blamed on a wardrobe malfunction, which Timberlake distanced himself from, leaving Jackson to bear the brunt of the fallout, which has plagued her career ever since.
Now, the father-of-two has come to realise the error of his ways and has spoken out about the controversies in a candid post on Instagram.
In the note, uploaded on Friday (12Feb21), he writes, "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."
"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 adds, before blaming the culture of the entertainment industry for enabling such behaviour.
"The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It's designed this way," Timberlake continues.
"As a man in a privileged position I have to be vocal about this. 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."
He concludes, "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."
"I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people I love and have loved. I can do better and I will do better."
Britney and Janet have yet to respond to the apology.