On Tuesday (Nov. 7), Timbaland walked back his recent misogynistic statement about Britney Spears after a furious backlash against the producer for comments he made in an interview last month in which he said frequent collaborator Justin Timberlake should have put a “muzzle” on his one-time girlfriend Spears.
“I apologize to the Britney fans, and her,” Timbaland said somberly during one of his regular live TikTok chats while reading a comment asking him about his attitude towards women. “Yes, ‘you know about respecting women?”
reported that Timbaland additionally said, “I’m sorry to all the Britney fans, even to her. I’m sorry, because muzzle was — no, you have a voice. You speak what you want to speak. Who am I to tell you what not to speak? And I was wrong for saying that. I was looking at it from a different lens and what I am is a reconcile person. I’m not a person who takes sides.”
The reaction came after Timbaland took questions from the audience during an Oct. 29 live interview with 9th Wonder at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in which someone asked about the renewed interest in JT’s Tim-produced “Cry Me a River” in the wake of Spears’ best-selling tell-all memoir, The Woman in Me.
The 2002 song from Timberlake’s first solo album, Justified, is widely seen as a reaction to the singer’s split with Spears — down to the casting of an unfaithful blonde woman who looks eerily like Britney in the video — and when asked about the song during the chat last month, Timbaland said, “She going crazy, right? I wanted to call and say, ‘JT, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.”
Spears and Timberlake dated from 1999-2002, and Britney delves into aspects of their relationship in the memoir, including an abortion she underwent while they were together. “Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young,” she wrote, adding, “To this day, it’s one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life.”
In the book Spears also notes that the “Cry Me a River” video featured a “woman who looks like me cheats on him and he wanders around sad in the rain” and that the media attention to the video for the song that Timbaland co-wrote and co-produced turned her into a “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy.” In reality, she added, she was broken-hearted and “comatose in Louisiana” while JT was “happily running around Hollywood.”
Spears fans were furious after the Timbaland comments surfaced, slamming the producer for his sexist statement. At press time it did not appear that Timberlake — who has kept a low profile during the run-up and roll-out of the Spears book — had reacted to either the original Timbaland statement or the apology; Spears also appears not to have posted a reaction to either comment.