Timbaland has responded to backlash regarding a recent comment encouraging frequent collaborator Justin Timberlake to “muzzle” ex Britney Spears.
Speaking with 9th Wonder at the Kennedy Center last month, the famed producer shared his thoughts on Spears speaking about her past experiences with the “SexyBack” performer as she promotes her memoir The Woman In Me.
An audience member asked a question noting that “Cry Me A River” has made recent waves due to Spears’ book tour. Timbaland interrupted the question with his opinion on the pop star opening up about her public breakup with Timberlake, having an abortion, and other revelations regarding the former NSYNC frontman.
“She going crazy, right?” remarked the 51-year-old as the crowd laughed. “I wanted to call and say, ‘JT, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.”
As the clip made rounds on social media, he was criticized for his insensitive statement. Later that evening, Timbaland took to TikTok to apologize for his word choice.
“I’m sorry to all the Britney fans, even to her,” shared the Virginia native. “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 Spears’ The Woman in Me, she describes her initial meeting with Timbaland writing, “He started being very standoffish with me,” per Rolling Stone. The memoir continues to detail, “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.”
The Associated Press reported the memoir sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S. alone through its first week.
“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 said in a statement.