Justin Timberlake is apologizing for a video that features homeless and incoherent people in Los Angeles congratulating Timberlake and his new bride, Jessica Biel. The eight-and-a-half-minute video, produced by Timberlake's close friend Justin Huchel, is called "Greetings from Your Hollywood Friends Who Just Couldn't Make It."
An excerpt of the video was first posted on the gossip website Gawker on Oct. 24 and generated much negative attention for what viewers felt was an insensitive and degrading treatment of others. It subsequently was taken down, after Huchel's legal team threatened a lawsuit against the site and called the video "a private joke without Mr. Timberlake's knowledge."
In a lengthy "open letter" posted to his website, Timberlake confirmed that he was unaware of the video but apologized for its existence nevertheless. He also said that the movie was not shown at his wedding, contrary to reports. An excerpt of his statement is below:
I'd like to start off by saying that I don't live my life making fun of people (unless, of course, I'm making fun of myself on SNL)... Especially, those who are less fortunate or those in need. I grew up with a family and community that instilled ideals in me like hard work, honesty and empathy. As a matter of fact, growing up in Tennessee, I was always taught that we as people, no matter what your race, sex, or stature may be, are equal. We have a saying there that "Everyone puts their pants on the same way (maybe this saying doesn't apply to guys who wear kilts. Although, I'm sure they put theirs on the same way too…)"
As it pertains to this silly, unsavory video that was made as a joke and not in any way in mockery:
1. I had no knowledge of its existence. I had absolutely ZERO contribution to it.
2. My friends are good people. This was clearly a lapse in judgment which I'm sure no one who is reading this is exempt from. But, I don't believe it was made to be insensitive. More so, I think it was made as a joke on me not having that many friends attending my own wedding (which IS kind of funny if you think about it).
3. Like many silly rumors that I have been made aware of about the week: It was NOT shown at my wedding.
4. I think we can all agree that it was distasteful, even though that was not it's intention.
Once again, in the world that we live in where everyone thinks that they know everything, I want to be very clear... I am NOT defending the video. I agree with the overall consensus. But, to use another "pants" analogy... It seems that these days, misconception gets around the world before the actual truth even wakes up and gets it's pants on.
Timberlake, 31, married actress Biel, 30, on Oct. 19 in southern Italy. The couple have been dating for four years and became engaged in December 2011, while vacationing at a mountain resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
To read Timberlake's letter in full, click through to his website.