Following the Framing Britney Spears documentary premiere, fans are again calling out Justin Timberlake for his involvement and handling of the former couple's public breakup. People took to Twitter telling the "Can't Stop the Feeling" singer he needs to apologize for his role in the media's treatment of Spears after their split. One user went so far as to say, "Justin Timberlake has done a lot of s–– that he needs to apologize for, but his treatment of Britney is at the top of the list. I want a public apology, and acknowledgment of the harm he’s done."
The documentary dives into the media's coverage of Spears and Timberlake's relationship, adding that as she grew up in the spotlight, questions of her virginity arose during the duo's rocky relationship. After the duo broke up in 2002, Timberlake incited infidelity rumors after insinuating the young pop star cheated on him by using a Spears look-alike in his "Cry Me a River" music video. Though she maintained her virginal status in her interviews, Timberlake's story said otherwise when he was questioned in interviews at the time.
#ToiletThoughts Justin Timberlake is a douche. He let Britney take the blame in their breakup by alluding to her cheating in cry me a river. He took NO responsibility for what HE DID to Janet Jackson during their super bowl performance.— Bailey Sarian (@BaileySarian) February 6, 2021
The filmmaker behind the documentary Samantha Stark told Variety that Timberlake was not contacted while making the film. "We didn’t ask Justin Timberlake for comment, just like we didn’t ask a number of other people who appear in archival footage for comment. Interviewees make points about the media coverage surrounding the breakup, and NYT’s critic-at-large assesses a music video from a very successful album. Unlike other people who we did ask for comment, we don’t make any allegations against Justin," she said. "We simply let the footage play…So much coverage about Britney revolves around the men in her life, and we really wanted to not make it about the boyfriends and her relationships. They did affect what happened to her, but we didn’t want to focus on them. Britney has so much say for herself."
Justin isn't the only one taking the heat as fans are also pointing a finger at Diane Sawyer for her alleged role in placing the negative light on Spears. They cite a 2003 interview conducted with the singer in which Sawyer bluntly asks her what her part was in the breakup. Sawyer also played a clip of Maryland's First Lady Kendall Erlich saying figuratively that "if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears I think I would," a comment she later apologized for. Suddenly, Spears also joined the ranks of artists like Lil Kim and Eve as Sawyer put her in the hot seat for her choice of "revealing" clothes, blaming her for corrupting young children with her salacious outfits. "I think it’s time for [Diane Sawyer] to issue a public apology to Britney Spears," one person wrote on Twitter. "She treated her disgustingly and never once said sorry. Speak up sis. You were VERY wrong for the way you interviewed her."