Timbaland has apologized after recently saying that his frequent collaborator Justin Timberland “should have put a muzzle” on his ex Britney Spears.
During a live interview with 9th Wonder at the Kennedy Center in late October, Timbaland was asked about the renewed interest toward their duo’s song “Cry Me a River” following the release of Spears’ memoir. “She going crazy, right?” Timbaland replied. “I wanted to call JT, ‘Man, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.’”
He added, “But you know what? We live in an age of social media and everybody wanna go viral. I get it, because that’s the way you make money. Go viral.”
The backlash was, expectedly, severe after a clip from the interview starting making the rounds online this week. Last night, Timbaland went live on TikTok, which he does regularly, to offer an apology.
“I’m sorry to all the Britney fans, even to her,” he said in the video. “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… I apologize to the Britney fans and her.”
In response to a comment from a fan, he added, “‘You know about respecting women?’ Hell yeah.”
In Spears’ memoir, The Woman in Me, the singer wrote that the music video for “Cry Me a River” painted her as a villain after the fallout of their extremely public relationship. The video featured Timberland with an unfaithful girlfriend who looked somewhat like Spears, leading people to suggest she cheated on him. She wrote that the video turned her into a “harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy.”
“He started being very standoffish with me,” she wrote of Timberland. “I think that was because he’d decided to use me as ammunition for his record, and so it made it awkward for him to be around me starting at him with all that affection and devotion.” While he was casting a lookalike in the video and “happily running around Hollywood,” she noted, she was “comatose in Louisiana.”
Spears has more important things to focus on than Timbaland’s unfortunate comments. The Woman in Me sold 1.1. million copies in the U.S. within the first seven days of the book’s release, according to the Associated Press. “I poured my heart and soul into my memoir, and I am grateful to my fans and readers around the world for their unwavering support,” Spears shared in a statement on Wednesday via Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books.
“Most of the book is from 20 years ago… I have moved on and it’s a beautiful clean slate from here,” Spears wrote on Instagram in the days before the memoir’s release. “I am here to establish it that way for the rest of my entire life !!! Either way, that is the last of it and shit happens !!! This is actually a book I didn’t know needed to be written… although some might be offended, it has given me closure on all things for a better future.”