Why Celebrity Apologies Can Seriously Backfire

Justin Timberlake has been the centre of cheating speculation over the past few weeks, after video and photographs surfaced of him holding hands with his co-star Alisha Wainright.

But, as a news cycle goes, people turned their attention to other things in the world, until Timberlake posted a very public apology on his Instagram account to his 56.9 million fans.

The post seemingly came out of nowhere, and what was more surprising, he crafted the message himself. Usually you see celebrities either let the scandal blow over, or have their publicist release a statement.

So, when Timberlake decided to take action into his own hands (or maybe it was his publicity team) — it was met with mixed reactions, with fans commenting below the post.

“So disgusted with you. I used to be a huge fan. I no longer am. Sorry … lame excuse ! Jessica you deserve better!” one person wrote.

While another said: “This is not ok behavior! Alcohol or not, you are married! And the female is no better! Never get involve with a married man! Both are to blame! [sic]”

And then there was this: “You never deserved Britney”.

Even goddess Bette Midler had her say, Tweeting “who cares”.

“He held another woman’s hand, BFD. So when is Janet Jackson’s boob gonna get an apology?”

Of course, Midler was referring to the infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl Halftime show in 2004, where Timberlake exposed her breast to millions of people around the world.

So, what has angered so many people about this apology? And why, do we expect such a high-standard from celebrities? Or an apology at all?

Was it the fact that it wasn’t really an apology meant for us? Was it the fact that maybe he didn’t orchestrate it on his own terms but perhaps the studio of his new film, his PR team and maybe even his own wife, Jessica Biel, went into damage control and forced him to write and post?

Could this single post, which wasn’t posted on a story — but on the grid of his Instagram be a simple admission of some kind? An apology in any form is an apology — but what is it really for?

Timberlake certainly didn’t have to share this because it was all but forgotten — but maybe he felt his fans deserved an explanation. Whatever the reason, it’s out there now and all of a sudden it’s now up for even more public discussion.

But what of his co-star, Wainwright?

The Raising Dion actor has not posted on her own account for two weeks — and it begs the question. If Timberlake is apologising for the whole debacle, should she also address the situation? It takes two to tango.

Or do we expect too much from the celebrities that entertain us? Just because they’re in the public eye, it doesn’t mean that we have authority on how they live their lives and with who — and majority of the time, we don’t even know the real story.

So, while we’ll never really know what actually happened, you can bet that Timberlake is still paying for his “mistake”.

And the lesson learned here is that no matter how much celebrities want to get out of a sticky situation with an apology — they can’t.