Timbaland made the comments in conversation with fellow producer 9th Wonder on October 29 at an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, after which the comments began circulating online. When an audience member mentioned the memoir, Timbaland said, “She’s going crazy, right? I wanted to call and say, ‘JT, man, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.’” He used a joking tone, but the demeaning language sparked outrage among Spears’ fans.
Timbaland also suggested that Spears wrote the memoir, which details several traumatizing events including a years-long conservatorship that controlled every aspect of her life, to “go viral.” “We live in an age of social media and everyone wants to go viral,” he said. “I get it, because that’s the way you make money, going viral – you have to do something that gets people’s attention.”
During a live stream on TikTok, Timbaland has since apologized “to the Britney fans and to Britney herself”.
In ‘The Woman in Me’, Spears writes extensively about her relationship with Timberlake, whom she dated from 1999 to 2002. She reveals that she had an abortion and writes: “If it were up to me, I would never have done it. And yet Justin was so sure he didn’t want to be a father.”
She also writes about their eventual breakup: “As much as Justin hurt me, there was a huge foundation of love, and when he left me, I was devastated. I could barely speak for months. When anyone asked about him, all I could do was cry. I don’t know if I was in shock, but that’s what it felt like.”
Timbaland produced four songs on Justin Timberlake’s solo debut Justified, including the hit “Cry Me a River” – the video of which highlighted the thinly veiled references to Spears.
‘The Woman in Me’ sold more than 1 million copies in the US in the first week after publication and also topped the bestseller list in the United Kingdom.