Justin Timberlake Divides Internet – Britney Spears – Newsweek

Justin Timberlake has released a new single, with the news receiving mixed reactions from fans online.

Titled “Selfish,” the track is from the singer’s upcoming sixth studio album, Everything I Thought It Was, out on March 15. The song shot straight to No. 1 on iTunes U.S., with the 42-year-old announcing a world tour on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In recent years, Timberlake has kept a lower profile, mostly collaborating with other artists or promoting the Trolls movie franchise, in which he voices the character of Branch.

Justin Timberlake in 2022, "Selfish" cover art
Main: Justin Timberlake attends the Los Angeles premiere for Hulu’s “Candy” at El Capitan Theatre on May 9, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Inset: The cover art for “Selfish,” the pop star’s latest single. It…


However, revelations in ex-girlfriend Britney Spears’s memoir, The Woman in Me, sparked fierce backlash against the former “Prince of Pop” in October. Fans began to reexamine Timberlake’s early 2000s heyday, accusing the musician of profiting off the pain and public vilification of Spears and other female performers.

Newsweek has reached out to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears for comment via email.

After the single dropped on Thursday, a number of listeners took to social media to criticize the song. “Song is mid,” wrote Randy Treibel on X, formerly Twitter.

“It’s so bad,” agreed Joseph.

“Terrible,” commented Viktor, while August called the singer a “Justin Bieber reject.”

Some users wrote that Timberlake “bought” the No. 1 placement on iTunes. Newsweek has reached out to iTunes for comment via email.

“HE PAID FOR IT,” wrote Tabi.

“Not a single real person listening… all bots,” posted Divinity.

“Payola is alive and well,” commented @IsntDaveOne.

Spears’ fans defended their idol, streaming her 2011 song “Selfish” in an attempt to knock Timberlake from the top spot.

“Anyway stream Selfish by Britney Spears,” posted Stephen.

“The only selfish i acknowledge,” wrote Stephanie.

“Justin may work hard, but Britney’s bitches work harder,” added Pierre King.

“This is the best troll move any fandom has ever done,” commented Albie. “Long Live B. Spears.”

Justin Timberlake (left) and Britney Spears, 2002

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

At the time of writing, Spears’ track was No. 5 on the U.S. iTunes chart, but was No. 1 in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile, and entered the Top 10 in nine other countries.

Timberlake’s “Selfish” is No.1 in Canada and Namibia, along with the United States, and has entered the iTunes Top 10 in 13 other countries. Neither singer is charting in the Spotify U.S. top 50 or the Spotify Global chart.

Despite the controversy surrounding Spears, many listeners loved the track, with Jessika Birchfield writing: “It’s a good day to be a Justin Timberlake fan.”

“Who would have thought Justin Timberlake would come back with a banger,” posted Vanilla Ling.

“Drama aside, it’s actually a good song,” commented Duc Ngueyn.

“A HIT that will be on loop all day!” added Jordan.

“Ya’ll really fail at boycotting people lol [laugh out loud],” wrote Norman D Golden II. “It’s a bop! Sorry!”

In The Woman in Me, Spears recounted her rise to fame as a teen and her reign as the “Princess of Pop.” The book also documented some difficult periods in the 41-year-old’s life, including the mental-health battle that led to her controversial 13-year conservatorship and her breakup with Timberlake.

Spears and the NSYNC star dated from 1999 to 2002, after first meeting as preteens while starring in Disney show The Mickey Mouse Club.

In the memoir, Spears said there was infidelity on both sides. The singer admitted to having a brief fling with choreographer Wade Robson, while Timberlake allegedly had a number of one-night stands during their relationship.

After the split, the pop star accused Timberlake of capitalizing on the cheating rumors, damaging her reputation through interviews and his 2002 single “Cry Me a River.” Released shortly after the separation, the song is written from the perspective of a jealous lover and features a Spears lookalike in the accompanying video.

“In the news media, I was described as a harlot who’d broken the heart of America’s golden boy,” Spears wrote.

“There’s always more leeway in Hollywood for men than for women. And I see how men are encouraged to talk trash about women in order to become famous and powerful. But I was shattered.”

The VMA winner also confessed to having an abortion at age 19, sharing her heartache over the decision.

“[Justin] said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young,” Spears said.

“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.”

The revelations caused uproar among Spears’ fans, who lashed out at Timberlake, overshadowing a rumored NSYNC reunion and expected comeback for the singer.