Justin Timberlake has apologized for a video made by a friend in which various homeless people around Los Angeles congratulate the performer on the occasion of his marriage to actress Jessica Biel.
The video, a clip of which was obtained by Gawker earlier this week, was reportedly made by Timberlake’s friend Justin Huchel. The full, 8-min, 30-sec. version allegedly features Huchel asking homeless people, street performers and transsexuals their thoughts on the wedding. The title card read “Greetings from Your Hollywood Friends Who Just Couldn’t Make It,” and was intended as a joke gift for the couple.
The original 20-second clip has since been taken down upon the request of Huchel’s Los Angeles DUI attorney. The attorney’s letter stated that Timberlake did not know about the video before it was shown and that it was intended only for private use.
“Mr. Huchel made [the] video to be used and exhibited privately at Justin Timberlake’s wedding as a private joke without Mr. Timberlake’s knowledge,” he said.
However, in an open letter of apology posted on his website, Timberlake maintains that the video was not in fact shown during the estimated $6.7 million event. “Like many silly rumors that I have been made aware of about the week: It was NOT shown at my wedding,” the star wrote.
In addition, Timberlake used the opportunity to post an apology for his friends and to take responsibility for the video.
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.
“I want to be very clear… I am NOT defending the video,” Timberlake goes on to say, calling it “distasteful.”
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.
Regarding those responsible for the video (presumably meaning Huchel), Timberlake said, “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.”
However, he added, “You can bet your a– that I’m having my friend do at least 100 hours of community service… Boom.”