Justin Timberlake Ignites Social Media Storm on BET Awards Night

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After tweeting a response to Jesse Williams' impassioned Black Lives Matter speech, the pop star ignited a brief social media storm in which he was accused of cultural appropriation and blamed for leaving Janet Jackson to cop the brunt of her Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction."

Justin Timberlake just had a night on Twitter he’d rather forget. 

On an evening when the music industry’s eyes were focused on the BET Awards, the pop star ignited a social media storm in which he was accused of cultural appropriation and blamed for leaving Janet Jackson to take the brunt of criticism over her Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction”.

Timberlake started things off with a seemingly innocuous tweet to Jesse Williams following the actor’s moving BET Awards speech about how Black Lives Matter.

Scores of vitriolic tweets followed, with some accusing JT of hypocrisy, others calling him out for cultural appropriation, for shading Prince and for turning his back on Janet Jackson in her time of need more than a decade ago. 

Timberlake, who has eight career BET nominations for zero wins, dug his own hole a little deeper with one rather dismissive response to reporter Ernest Jones, "Oh, you sweet soul. The more you realize that we are the same, the more we can have a conversation," he wrote.

Timberlake then tried to diffuse the situation with a trio of tweets, before shutting it all down for the night. "I feel misunderstood. I responded to a specific tweet that wasn't meant to be a general response. I shouldn't have responded anyway...," Timberlake wrote. "I forget this forum sometimes... I was truly inspired by Jesse Williams' speech because I really do feel that we are all one... A human race. I apologize to anyone that felt I was out of turn. I have nothing but LOVE FOR YOU AND ALL OF US." Williams has yet to publicly respond to Timberlake.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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