Timbaland slammed for saying Justin Timberlake should have put a ‘muzzle’ on Britney Spears

American singer Timbaland is facing backlash for suggesting that Justin Timberlake should have “put a muzzle” on his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears ahead of her recently released memoir.

Spears’s book, titled The Woman in Me, makes a number of claims about her Noughties relationship with fellow pop star Timberlake.

The “Toxic” singer revealed that she had an abortion during their relationship because “Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy”. She also said Timberlake’s 2002 music video for “Cry Me a River” depicted her as a “harlot”.

During a recent panel at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC for “Sounds Architects: A Producer Conversation”, Timbaland was asked about his and Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” collaboration “making headlines again” due to the memoir (Timbaland was a co-writer on the hit single).

“I wanted to call and say, ‘JT, you gotta put a muzzle on that,’” Timbaland joked in a clip that has circulated widely on Twitter/X.

“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,” a Spears fan account responded to the video.

“Imagine in 2023 saying a woman should have a muzzle put on her for speaking her truth, ESPECIALLY after 13 years of abuse & silence,” another person tweeted.

“Saying a woman who was in a 13-year conservatorship should have a muzzle put on her because she can finally tell her story through a memoir is gross,” a third wrote.

“I’m glad Britney is speaking up, their reactions are just proving that everything she said is true,” a fourth added.

Timberlake and Spears dated from 1999 to 2002 after meeting on the set of the All-New Mickey Mouse Club in 1992. Timberlake released “Cry Me a River”, the second single from his solo album debut Justified, in the same year that he and Spears split.

The music video for the song – which featured a woman with blonde hair – sparked rumours that he and Spears had broken up because she cheated on him.

In her memoir, the Grammy winner confirmed the infidelity rumours, explaining she had kissed her choreographer Wade Robson, but that Timberlake had been unfaithful to her first.

She also said Timberlake ended their relationship with a text message, writing that it left her “devastated” and “comatose”.

On Instagram, Spears said her motive for writing the book, which was released on 24 October, “was not to harp on my past experiences which is what the press is doing and it’s dumb and silly!!!”

“I have moved on since then,” she said.