Justin Timberlake Somehow Leaves Out Profuse Apology to Janet Jackson in Super Bowl Interview

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We’re about two-and-a-half weeks out from the Super Bowl, and slightly closer to the release of half-time performer Justin Timberlake’s rustic, “authentic” rebranding album Man of the Woods, so naturally Timberlake has begun embarking on a lengthy press tour. In a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Timberlake said some things about the last time he played the Super Bowl and somehow managed to not profusely apologize to Janet Jackson.

When Lowe asked Timberlake what the conversation was like in terms of returning to the half-time stage, Timberlake responded that there wasn’t much of one. “It’s just one of those things where you go like... ‘What do you want me to say? We’re not gonna do that again,’” he said—a reference to the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” in which Timberlake accidentally exposed Jackson’s breast to the crowd. (If you don’t remember, Jackson was essentially solely blamed for the incident, resulting in irreparable damage to her career. Timberlake essentially left her out to dry and moved on.)

Timberlake then went on to describe the moment:

“I stumbled through it, to be quite honest,” Timberlake said. “I had my wires crossed and it’s just something that you have to look back on and go, like, ‘Ok, well you know, you can’t change what’s happened but you can move forward and learn from it.’”


Wow, truly reflective. I for one would love to know what specifically Timberlake has learned from the situation, but that’s just me! He also said that he and Jackson have made their peace, saying, “And I don’t know that a lot of people know that. I don’t think it’s my job to do that because you value the relationships that you do have with people.” Hmmm, OK. It’s not that I don’t believe Timberlake, it’s just that I’ll let this go when I have verbal and/or written confirmation from Janet and/or see her on the Super Bowl stage next month.

A couple years after the 2004 Super Bowl incident, Timberlake did reflect on how America is harsher on women and people of color (though he said “ethnic people”), saying that he could have handled the whole situation differently. That was a decent start, but it would be nice if this very famous white man had thought even a bit more deeply than that by now, especially in our present climate. If Timberlake really wants to sell his “authentic” image, he’s going to have to dig into this a little bit more and demonstrate exactly what he has learned (other than “don’t do that again”) and what exactly he has done to make things right.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.

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