Why Have People Turned On Justin Timberlake?

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Justin Timberlake has been receiving a lot of hate after the Framing Britney Spears documentary was published by the New York Times. 

His mistreatment of Britney and other female celebrities like Janet Jacksonis now being scrutinised and has even prompted a personal apology from JT 

So, what exactly did he apologise for? And why is the backlash such a big moment for female celebrities? 

Framing Britney Spears And Justin Timberlake 

The Framing Britney Spears documentary has had a huge response. 

There have been over a million tweets about it since its releaseand celebrities and fans around the world have continued to share their support for the #FreeBritney movement. 

The doco is groundbreaking because it’s the first real deep dive into how badly Britney’s been treated by the media during her career, and how she ended up in a decades-long conservatorship.

And it’s come at a time when Britney’s conservatorship continues to be discussed in court. 

But it’s also turned attention to Justin Timberlake who’s been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism about his past behaviourwhich people are now calling out as misogynistic and claiming that he largely got away with it scot-free. 

JT’s Treatment Of Britney Spears And Janet Jackson 

Some pretty awful old interviews have been circulating on the internet because of the new doco 

Like this one wherefollowing their 2002 breakup, Justin was asked about his and Britney’s sex life. Instead of respecting her privacy, he and his team kind of exploited the situation to promote his debut solo album Justified. 

It’s just one example of Justin’s post-breakup manoeuvring, where helping fuel a narrative that Britney was a cheater made him a media darling (and probably sold a lot of records). 

That narrative ultimately left Britney’s reputation seriously tarnished. 

In Framing Britney SpearsNew York Times critic Wesley Morris explained that “the way people treated herwas like she was the school slut, and he was the school quarterback.  

But the documentary hasn’t just highlighted Justin’s behaviour towards Britney. 

His 2004 Super Bowl nip-slip performance with Janet Jackson has resurfaced as another contentious moment from his past. 

At the time, Justin never defended Janet or took ownership for the role he played in the incident, which really hurt her career.  

In fact, Janet was banned from the next Grammy’s while JT got to attend. And Janet has never been asked to perform at another Super Bowl, while Justin has performed three times since. 

Misogyny Sells 

Since the documentary’s release, Justin Timberlake has issued an apology for failing both women and for not speaking up at the time.  

But the doco has triggered wider conversations about misogyny in the music and media industries, and also within public culture at large. 

The music industry has never been far from criticism of ugly double standards when it comes to sexgender and race 

Even Justin admitted in his apology that he has benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism and wrote that he was deeply sorry for the times in his life where his actions had contributed to the problem 

Some fans are pointing out that the apology is nearly two decades too lateconsidering his silence at the time may have harmed Britney and Janet’s careers. 

Having huge star like JT finally reflect publicly on his position of white male privilege feels to many, like it’s been a long time coming. 

The Takeaway 

The Framing Britney Spears backlash has been a moment of reckoning for Justin Timberlakebut it’s not hard to imagine that he’s likely just one of many male celebrities whose successes might have come at the expense of the careersreputation and health of women.  

We can only hope that the industry starts holding people accountable for maintaining (and even exploiting) a fractured and damaging system, and that the strong public reaction to this documentary highlights how important it is to call out shitty misogynistic behaviour when it happens.