You may or may not have heard about this video that Gawker (the guys who brought us the regrettably unforgettable Hulk Hogan sex tape) posted on their site a few days back. Apparently, Justin Timberlake‘s good friend and real estate agent Justin Huchel made a hugely offensive video (which I didn’t get to see before it was taken down, following a demand from his lawyers) that featured random people who live on the streets of Los Angeles “congratulating” Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel on their nuptials. Hella, hella people were furious, as the video basically poked fun at homeless people. But Justin Timberlake just came forward with a written apology which he shared on his official website. Click inside to learn more about the video and to read excerpts from Justin‘s apology.
Okay here’s what Gawker had to say about the video. Once the video was removed, they also hilariously posted the e-mails from Huchel‘s lawyers, which demanded that the vids be taken down:
After the guests at Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s wedding were whisked to southern Italy via private jet last week, they were greeted by a video produced by Timberlake’s longtime pal, L.A. real estate agent Justin Huchel. The video had a gag: Huchel hit the streets of Los Angeles and asked a bunch of homeless people, street musicians, and transexuals to wish the multimillionaire newlyweds well. Funny, funny stuff.
The 8:30 video featured street interviews with ten people, many of them obviously homeless, premised on the idea that they were friends of Timberlake and Biel’s who, for whatever reason, couldn’t quite swing the trip to the Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia for the nuptials, which were reported to cost $6.5 million. “Greetings from Your Hollywood Friends Who Just Couldn’t Make It,” reads the opening title card, “Featuring Sid, Chuck, Robert, and More!” Sid, Chuck, Robert, and others appear to be penniless and living on the street. Some of them are obviously intoxicated, mentally ill, or both, and at least one of them is entirely incapable of speaking.
“Justin and Jessica, I haven’t seen you for a long time,” one toothless man tells the camera. “I hope the wedding goes fine for you. My gift is in the mail.”
Read more at Gawker. The letters from the lawyers (and of course the snarky comments from readers) are the best. And– again, without having seen the video– it sounds like a pretty effed up joke for an LA realtor to tell. Class is a real issue in America– perhaps not so much as it is in other countries, but we can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. And the description of the video kinda confirms all your suspicions about rich people– that they pretty much just make fun of non-rich people whenever they have the time. This is why I was very pleased to read Justin‘s letter, in which he fiercely denies that his guests ever saw this video (hope that’s true) and also takes responsibility for his friend’s decision to make the video. Pretty classy:
To my family, friends, and fans:
Normally, as some of you know, I am (by nature) a pretty private person. So, I don’t really take it upon myself to comment on things that so often go misunderstood or something that has even shed any kind of dark light on what was and will always be one of the most special weeks of my life. But, in light of the recent events, I can’t fight the urge to clarify my thoughts and feelings on what has been a very upsetting portrayal of the people closest to me and myself. It’s not who I am as a professional or as a man.
I can’t help but think of one of the many great life lessons my Grandfather has taught me… He told me when I was younger that “Sometimes, you are confronted with challenges in life that perhaps are not your own. And, when those moments arise, the right thing for a man to do is accept that responsibility, whatever it may be, and face it with honesty and humility.”
So, I’m taking his advice. If for no other reason, than to clear the air so no one has to ever wonder how I feel about it.
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. We have a saying there that “Everyone puts their pants on the same way (maybe this saying doesn’t apply to guys who wear kilts. Although, I’m sure they put theirs on the same way too…)”
As it pertains to this silly, unsavory video that was made as a joke and not in any way in mockery:
1. I had no knowledge of its existence. I had absolutely ZERO contribution to it.
2. 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. But, I don’t believe it was made to be insensitive. More so, I think it was made as a joke on me not having that many friends attending my own wedding (which IS kind of funny if you think about it).
3. Like many silly rumors that I have been made aware of about the week: It was NOT shown at my wedding.
4. I think we can all agree that it was distasteful, even though that was not its intention.
Once again, in the world that we live in where everyone thinks that they know everything, I want to be very clear… I am NOT defending the video.
Read the rest of the letter here.
Now I’m glad Timberlake has made this public apology– and I can appreciate the humorous touches he added– but I still feel like people reacted strongly because that video really was offensive. Ultimately Justin has done the right thing– and the best he can do at this point– and I’m sure everyone will move on shortly.
Did any of you see the video? Was it offensive… or kinda funny? And even though he said he wasn’t defending the video, he did kinda, sorta defend his friend’s intentions and made sure to let us know his friends are all ‘good people.’ Do you guys think Justin made the right move here?
UPDATE: I just saw that TMZ still had a clip of the video: