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Justin Timberlake Apologizes for ‘Distasteful’ Video + Sentences Friend to Community Service

Justin Timberlake sentenced his friend to 100 hours of community service after he made a distasteful video.
Mike Erhmann, Getty Images

Last week was a good week for Justin Timberlake: He married mega-hottie Jessica Biel in an exquisite Italian wedding with all his friends and family around to help him celebrate.

But this week? Has been a little different. Things went downhill after someone leaked a video that a friend of Justin’s created for him as a “joke.” A video that very clearly mocks some citizens of Los Angeles who are far less fortunate than Timberlake and his rich pals.

And happy Justin wasn’t happy any more.

The premise for the video, created by Timberlake’s classy pal, real estate agent Justin Huchel, was that there were friends of the newlyweds in L.A. who just couldn’t make it to the fancypants party in Italy.

It includes a series of interviews with a cross-section of Hollywood’s homeless and/or downtrodden citizens, some of whom are clearly mentally ill. All of them wished Justin and Jessica the best, but probably none of them realized they were being mocked by someone who thought their misfortune was a joke.

The video was leaked by Gawker, which was then threatened with a lawsuit by Huchel’s lawyers.

Timberlake had nothing to do with the video, but being the decent human that he is, he’s now issued a formal apology for it via an open letter on his website.

He called the “distasteful” video a “lapse in judgment” by his friends, and said he doesn’t live his life that way, adding, “I was always taught that we as people, no matter what your race, sex, or stature may be, are equal.”

He closes the missive with, “You can bet your ass that I’m having my friend do at least 100 hours of community service … Boom.”

Well-played, Justin. Maybe we’ll make fun of you a little less around here now. (Maybe.)

Here’s his letter in its entirety.

AN OPEN LETTER

To my family, friends, and fans:

The last time I wrote a letter like this, it was when I had the good fortune of attending a once in a lifetime experience by sharing an evening with some of America’s finest at the Marine Corps Ball about a year ago. I was so moved by that night, I wanted to share it with everyone. Unfortunately, this letter holds a different kind of weight for me.

Normally, as some of you know, I am (by nature) a pretty private person. So, I don’t really take it upon myself to comment on things that so often go misunderstood or something that has even shed any kind of dark light on what was and will always be one of the most special weeks of my life. But, in light of the recent events, I can’t fight the urge to clarify my thoughts and feelings on what has been a very upsetting portrayal of the people closest to me and myself. It’s not who I am as a professional or as a man.

I can’t help but think of one of the many great life lessons my Grandfather has taught me… He told me when I was younger that “Sometimes, you are confronted with challenges in life that perhaps are not your own. And, when those moments arise, the right thing for a man to do is accept that responsibility, whatever it may be, and face it with honesty and humility.”

So, I’m taking his advice. If for no other reason, than to clear the air so no one has to ever wonder how I feel about it.

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.

I want to say that, on behalf of my friends, family, and associative knuckleheads, I am deeply sorry to anyone who was offended by the video. Again, it was something that I was not made aware of. But, I do understand the reaction and, by association, I am holding myself accountable.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts. It really is a blessing to be able to speak directly to my true fans so that you can know exactly where I stand.

-Justin

P.S. You can bet your ass that I’m having my friend do at least 100 hours of community service … Boom.

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