Burn! Britney Spears’ fiancé shaded Justin Timberlake as he’s slammed for Janet Jackson‘s Malfunction documentary.
Britney’s fiancé, Sam Asghari—whom she got engaged to in September 2021 after five years of dating—took to his Instagram Story on November 20, 2021, with a post that seemed to diss his soon-to-be-wife’s ex-boyfriend. The post included a screenshot of a Variety article with the headline, “Britney Spears’ Fiancé Sam Asghari Thanks Pop Singer for Helping Put His Acting Career ‘On the Map.'” He captioned the article, “Bringing sexy back is cool And all but bringing (real) back in Hollywood is even sexier,” which referenced JT’s 2006 single, “Sexy Back.” Sam’s post also included a winking face emoji with its tongue out. Many fans took the post as shade toward Justin, who has had a complicated relationship with Britney since they dated from 1999 to 2002. “Did sam asghari just drag justin timberlake,” one user wrote on Twitter, while another tweeted, “Did Sam just shade JT?”
Sam’s post also came amid backlash for JT after the release of Hulu’s documentary, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson, which revisited Justin and Janet’s Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show performance and Janet’s infamous wardrobe malfunction. During the 2004 performance, Janet and Justin, who was a surprise guest, performed a medley of her songs together. At the end of “Rock Your Body,” Justin accidentally exposed Janet’s right breast to more than 140 million Super Bowl viewers when he attempted a last-minute costume trick. After the documentary, fans slammed JT for how he handled the situation, which, at the time, led to only backlash for Janet.
“[Justin Timberlake’s] behavior is disgusting. The lack of empathy, disrespectful behavior and #misogyny is appalling,” one Twitter user wrote.
After the 2004 Super Bowl performance, Janet released a statement, apologizing for the wardrobe malfunction.”The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my halftime show performance was made after final rehearsals. MTV was completely unaware of it. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. MTV, CBS, [and] the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end. I apologize to anyone offended, including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL,” she said at the time. In a later interview with Oprah Winfrey, Janet revealed that she regretted her apology. “It was an accident. The management I had at the time, they thought it was important that I did,” she said in 2018.
Though Janet hasn’t commented on the documentary, she did share a cryptic quote after its release that seemed to urge fans to be kind to Justin. “Not sure if you got the memo,” the quote read. “But we’re not competing anymore, we’re appreciating and uplifting each other instead.” Justin, for his part, liked the post.
As for Britney, Justin also came under fire in February 2021 after Hulu released its documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which revisited how he treated her after their breakup in 2002. The documentary slammed Justin for the release of his 2006 song, “What Goes Around…Comes Around,” in which he suggested that Britney cheated on him. The documentary also criticized interviews Justin did at the time about Britney’s virginity. In a statement on his Instagram at the time, Justin apologized to both Britney and Janet for how he treated them. “I’ve seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond,” he wrote. “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.” He continued, “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.”
JT went on to explain why he decided to respond to the backlash. “I also feel compelled to respond, in part because everyone involved deserves better and more importantly, because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be a part of and grow from,” he wrote. “The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. 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 I was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.
He continued, “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 my 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.”
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