Timbaland is facing backlash for his controversial remarks about Britney Spears.
“She going crazy, right?” Timbaland, 51, said of Spears, 41, in footage from a recent panel interview circulating via X (formerly known as Twitter). His comment came after a reporter pointed out that Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” — which Timbaland produced — is “making headlines again” after the release of Spears’ memoir, The Woman in Me.
Timbaland — who was speaking at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for “Sounds Architects: A Producer Conversation” last month — added that he wanted to call Timberlake, 42, and say, “JT, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.”
Fans of Spears were quick to slam Timbaland — who has frequently collaborated with Timberlake over the years — for his remarks via social media, with some users deeming the comment “misogynistic” — and others calling out the crowd at the event for laughing.
“What was so funny? Mocking [Britney’s] mental state and [joking] about a muzzle? That’s the way to treat a woman that Hollywood / her family already abused?” one person commented, while another said, “Timbaland saying that Justin Timberlake should have put a ‘muzzle’ on Britney is actually INSANE considering Britney has been treated like a caged animal for the past 13 years.”
Timbaland, for his part, continued to slam Spears for her memoir during the panel, claiming she wrote the book just to “get people’s attention.”
“You know what? We live in the age of social media and … everybody want[s] to go viral,” he said. “I get it because that’s the way you make money [is to] go viral.”
The Woman in Me, which hit shelves in October, featured candid details from Spears’ past, including various claims about her relationship with Timberlake, whom she dated from 1999 to 2002 after meeting on the set of The Mickey Mouse Club. In her debut tome, Spears spoke of alleged infidelity on both sides, recalled being broken up with by Timberlake via text message and revealed she had an at-home abortion after finding out she was pregnant before the pair broke up.
“But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young,” she wrote. “I’m sure people will hate me for this, but I agreed not to have the baby. I don’t know if that was the right decision. If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father.”
Spears also touched on Timberlake’s infamous “Cry Me a River” — and its subsequent music video — in her book, detailing the “power” Timberlake had in “shaming” her after their split. (The music video for the single featured a Spears lookalike, seemingly recreating the pair’s breakup and accusing her of infidelity.)
Spears also wrote that although her managers tried to portray her as “an eternal virgin,” she was quickly labeled as a “cheating slut” and a liar after Timberlake publicly confirmed their relationship was sexual in a 2003 interview with Barbara Walters.
After The Woman in Me’s release, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the former ‘NSync band member wasn’t expecting Spears to delve into their personal history to the extent she did.
“Justin thought Britney might talk about their ups and downs in more general terms — not air out their very personal, dirty laundry,” the insider said. “He’s disappointed she went this route decades after they split up.” (Timberlake turned off his Instagram comments in the wake of the memoir drama.)
Timberlake — who went on to wed Jessica Biel in 2013 — has not publicly addressed The Woman in Me, though a separate source told Us last month that he is “trying to distance himself” from his ex’s claims. Spears, meanwhile, insisted that she did not mean to “offend” anyone with the memoir.
“My book’s purpose was not to offend anyone by any means,” she wrote via Instagram in October. “That was me then … that is in the past!!! It’s a beautiful clean slate from here!!! I am here to establish it that way for the rest of my entire life!!! Either way, that is the last of it and s–t 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.”