Janet Jackson says backlash against Justin Timberlake was ‘blown way out of proportion’
In Jackson’s new two-night Lifetime and A&E documentary, Janet, the musician opened up about her friendship with the “Cry Me a River” singer following their infamous 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and the subsequent fallout.
“Honestly, this whole thing was blown way out of proportion. And, of course, it was an accident that should not have happened, but everyone is looking for someone to blame and that’s got to stop,” Jackson said, per People. “Justin and I are very good friends, and we will always be very good friends. We spoke just a few days ago. He and I have moved on, and it’s time for everyone else to do the same.”
Following the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary in February 2021, Timberlake not only received criticism for his detrimental actions against Spears but for letting Jackson take the brunt of the consequences of the incident in 2004. During their performance, Timberlake ripped off a part of Jackson’s costume, exposing her breast. While Jackson was disinvited to the Grammys and blacklisted by most of the music industry over the wardrobe malfunction, Timberlake performed at the Grammys the following week and eventually was given his own halftime show spot in 2018.
Now, Janet Jackson says she advised Timberlake to keep his head down in the early aughts. “We talked once and [Justin] said, ‘I don’t know if I should come out and make a statement,'” Jackson told her brother Randy Jackson in the new documentary, per People. “And I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want any drama for you. They’re aiming all of this at me.’ So I said, ‘If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything.'”
In February, Timberlake released an apology to both Britney Spears and Jackson. “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote in a lengthy Instagram message on Friday, February 12. “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.”
“The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success,” he continued. “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 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 have not been perfect in navigating all of this throughout my career,” he said, adding that the apology is the “first step” and he plans to take “accountability.”
“I care deeply about the well-being of the people I love and have loved,” he concluded. “I can do better and will do better.”
This story was originally published on Glamour.com