Justin Timberlake has released a single from his “20/20 Experience” follow-up album, titled “Take Back the Night,” which drew legal action from the Take Back the Night Foundation.
The foundation’s lawyers have contacted Timberlake’s people over using the trademarked name without permission.
Timberlake, meanwhile, has apologized — but also says he didn’t know that was the name of a sexual assault awareness group. To which we say, “Really? Clearly someone did not grow up watching ‘Beverly Hills 90210’.”
Anyway, Timberlake says in a statement to Radar Online:
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. 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.
Take Back the Night Executive Director Katherine Koestner tells Rolling Stone that this just goes to show how far we have to go as a society that someone like Justin Timberlake has never heard of their organization.
“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. 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,” says Koestner.
There’s also a concern over the song’s lyrics. Not because they advocate sexual assault or anything like that, but just because they are sexual in nature.
“Our mission is to end sexual violence, not to end sex. In reading the lyrics, I think they’re open to a lot of interpretation. They’re clearly sexual, but they’re not about sexual assault — so I think the problem may be just confusion with how an overtly sexual song matches with the mission of ending sexual violence.”
Koestner adds that she hopes they can come to an amicable solution.
“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 that stand against sexual violence.”