Anti-rape organization says he used their name without permission.
Justin Timberlake's "Take Back the Night," the first single off his forthcoming album, The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2, could bring on a lawsuit. Timberlake dropped the track Friday (July 12), after teasing the release via a YouTube message featuring a 10-second song clip and promoting it via Twitter with a "#TBTN."
The title of the song is the same name as an anti-rape organization, formally known as the Take Back the Night Foundation. According to its website, the organization "serves to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives," as it relates to sexual assault, sexual abuse, domestic violence, dating violence and sexual violence of all kinds.
Radar Online reports that TBTN is "shocked" by the Tennessee native's song title, and is threatening a suit. "Everyone at Take Back the Night is really shocked because normally we get asked when people want to use the name," executive director Katherine Koestner explained. "Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause."
The Devil Wears Prada and CSI (a movie and TV show, respectively) both referenced the organization, and made a donation.
Koestner took further issue with the track's lyrical content, which she called, "very sexual and not at all clearly anti-violence." But, she made it clear that she isn't accusing JT of promoting sexual assault or abuse of any kind. "Usually people are pretty mindful because no one is actually 'for' sexual assault."
The foundation reached out to Timberlake through his personal website, and reportedly got a "sorry" response from the superstar's legal agent. "They claimed he'd never heard of us before he wrote that song, Koestner said. "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 ... It's a big song, he didn't take the necessary steps to make sure that it was appropriate. Normally they do have due diligence."
In his own statement, Timberlake reiterated that he did not have prior knowledge of the organization. "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," he said. "I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization."
He added, "As I've learned more about the Take Back The Night Foundation, I'm moved by its efforts ... It is my hope that this coincidence will bring more awareness to this cause."
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(Photo: KCS Presse / Splash News)