Timberlake apologises for condoning misogyny after Spears documentary

NEW YORK: US singer-actor Justin Timberlake has apologised for moments where he "fell short" and condoned misogyny, a week after the release of a blockbuster documentary on US pop star Britney Spears saw the behaviour of the former boy band star come under sharp criticism.

The couple dated several years around the turn of the millennium, having met as children while cast members of Disney's Mickey Mouse Club variety show.

The popular narrative of their break-up cast Spears as a heartbreaker, offering sympathy to Timberlake especially after he released a revenge fantasy music video for the 2002 break-up hit Cry Me A River. In it, a Spears lookalike is cast as an unfaithful girlfriend.

The documentary, Framing Britney Spears, includes audio from a 2002 radio interview in which Timberlake jokes about the couple's sex life.

"I've seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond," Timberlake said on Instagram. "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."

Timberlake, 40, said he "specifically wanted to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women, and I know I failed".

In Jackson's case, he was referring to the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" she suffered during a much-watched 2004 Super Bowl half-time show, when Timberlake appeared to pull off part of her outfit and expose her breast.

Jackson's and Spears' careers took serious hits, while Timberlake's popularity remained largely unscathed. - AFP