Of course, Timbaland has worked with Britney's ex, Justin Timberlake, for many years. He even produced Justin's 2002 song "Cry Me a River," which is widely believed to have been Justin's attempt to publicly accuse Britney of cheating on him.
What's more, Timbaland worked with Justin on his upcoming, yet-to-be-announced album. He said in April, "I just left working with him, we just finished up, and everything sounds great. Now it’s really on him how he plans to wrap it up and how and when he envisions it to come out." The two also worked together on Timbaland's song with Nelly Furtado, "Keep Going Up," which was released in September.
The Woman in Me explored Britney's relationship with Justin to a new level, from revealing that she had an abortion while she was with him as he "didn't want to be a father," to accusing him of cheating on her numerous times, to saying that he ended things with her over text. "I think [the breakup] was because he’d decided to use me as ammunition for his record," she wrote of his debut album Justified, much of which was produced by Timbaland.
On Oct. 30, Timbaland spoke at an event at the Kennedy Center called Sound Architects: A Producer Conversation with Timbaland. He praised Justin's work and called "Cry Me a River" the "turning point" in their working relationship, stating that it was what compelled him to return to Justin again and again as a collaborator.
Someone then began to ask Timbaland about the recent reexamination of "Cry Me a River," given Britney's memoir. He interrupted the question and said, "She going crazy."
As the audience laughed, he continued, "I wanted to call and say, ‘JT, you gotta put a muzzle on that girl.'" People continued to laugh, though some sounded shocked.
"But you know what, we live in an age of social media and viral, everybody wanna go viral. I get it, because that's the way you make money. Go viral. I've gotta do something to get people's attention," he continued.
As the clip surfaced online, some people brought up Timbaland's 2011 comments about the late singer Aaliyah, who he met when she was 16 and he was 23. "I was in love with her," he said, before claiming that he knew he would marry his wife because she resembled Aaliyah. Timbaland also previously said that he wanted to work with Britney, leading some fans to speculate that she turned him down.
Timbaland is the one who needs a muzzle. We didn’t forget about his gross Aaliyah comments. He's still upset Britney didn’t want to work with him. A nasty man.
— 天皇 old skool lapel™ (@Ayo__Lawal) November 7, 2023
It's worth noting that Britney's 2007 album Blackout was produced by Timbaland's once-mentee, Danja.
Some also brought up how insensitive the comments were given that Britney was in an incredibly restrictive conservatorship for over a decade.
Timbaland saying that Justin Timberlake should have put a “muzzle” on Britney is actually INSANE considering Britney has been treated like a caged animal for the past 13 years. pic.twitter.com/PjIQoZIydm
— KingSpears (@godkneebitch) November 7, 2023
While others suggested that his response indicated that there was ample truth to what Britney said:
I’m glad britney is speaking up, their reactions are just proving that everythingshe said is true .
— zont zo it (@oplivio) November 7, 2023
And some just went for shots at Timbaland's own current virality:
timbaland hasn’t been relevant since 2008, yeah id be mad too
— noah (@bloodlineprint) November 7, 2023
Gross! Gross! Gross!