9:53am PT by THR Staff
Justin Timberlake Responds to 'Take Back the Night' Controversy
Justin Timberlake says he was not aware of the existence of the sexual assault awareness foundation bearing the same name as his latest single, "Take Back the Night."
"Upon the release of my new single, 'Take Back The Night,' I was made aware of an organization of the same name called The Take Back the Night Foundation," the singer said in a statement (via Radar Online). "I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization."
As I've learned more about The Take Back the Night Foundation, I'm moved by its efforts to stop violence against women, create safe communities and encourage respectful relationships for women -- something we all should rally around. It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause."
Following the release of the song last week, attorneys for Take Back the Night, which was founded in 1975 and maintains a presence on college campuses with school-sponsored events, issued a letter to Timberlake, threatening to take legal action over his use of the group's trademarked name.
"It just shows how far we have to go when Take Back the Night as a historic movement to end sexual violence in all forms is still not widely enough known, according to Mr. Timberlake, that he claims he didn't know that we existed," Katherine Koestner, the organization's executive director, told Rolling Stone in a statement.
"It shows exactly how much work we have to do as an organization and as a cause to end sexual violence to get our visibility increased in pop culture," she said.
That said, Koestner maintained that "we're all about promoting healthy, respectful relationships. So if Justin is on the side of healthy, respectful relationships, then we're a fan of his. And I hope we can move forward with his voice and all of those throughout the world who stand against sexual violence."
Timberlake will release Part 2 of his hot-selling album The 20/20 Experience on Sept. 10.