July 16, 2013 13:04

Justin Timberlake responds to 'Take Back The Night' anti-rape group comments

The singer says he hopes that the "coincidence" will bring more awareness to the foundation's cause

Justin Timberlake responds to 'Take Back The Night' anti-rape group comments

Photo: Press

Justin Timberlake has responded to comments made by women's rights group 'Take Back The Night' that he used its name without permission.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Timberlake could face legal action over the title of his new single, which began streaming on Friday (July 12), after the executive director of women's rights group Take Back The Night claimed that he failed to ask permission to use their name.

Issuing a statement to Radar, Timberlake said: "Upon the release of my new single 'Take Back The Night', I was made aware of an organisation of the same name called The Take Back The Night Foundation."

He added: "I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organisation. 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."

The original Take Back The Night has been in operation as a charitable foundation since 1999. It's Executive Director Katherine Koestner said this week that its lawyers had been in touch with the singer's representatives. "Everyone at Take Back The Night is really shocked, because normally we get asked when people want to use the name," she said. "Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause…The lyrics are definitely very sexual and not at all clearly anti-sexual violence. 'Use me', for example, is not a great phrase for anyone affiliated with the organisation."

She added: "We tried to contact him through his website and got no answer. Then we sent him a letter Friday (July 12) from our legal counsel saying 'You used our name without our permission'…They got back to us and said they're sorry," Koestner continued. "His agent said 'Justin's a good guy! He's a family man!' They claimed he'd never heard of us before he wrote that song. I don't know what country he's been in. I suppose it could have slipped off his radar screen somehow. Somebody working for him definitely messed up."

The track is the first song to be taken from Justin Timberlake's upcoming album 'The 20/20 Experience - Part 2', the second installment of 'The 20/20 Experience' which was released in March.

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