Timberlake surprised fans Friday by releasing his new single, Take Back the Night and it was met with positive reviews.
But the sexual assault awareness organization of the same name is not happy about the song’s title. Now, the Executive Director of the Foundation tells Radar that Justin used their name without asking, and he’s already received a letter from the group’s lawyers.
“Everyone at Take Back the Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name,” Take Back the Night Foundation Executive Director Katherine Koestner tells us. “Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause.”
But now, “We have some big concerns,” Koestner says. “For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, Take Back the Night has a different definition. That’s not been helpful.”
Also problematic is the fact that Timberlake’s R-rated lyrics don’t exactly support TBTN’s message. “The lyrics are definitely very sexual and not at all clearly anti-sexual violence,” she says. “‘Use me,’ for example, is not a great phrase for anyone affiliated with the organization.”
After first hearing that Justin planned to release the song, “We tried to contact him through his website and got no answer,” Koestner reveals. “Then we sent him a letter Friday from our legal counsel saying ‘You used our name without our permission.'”
“His legal agent got back to us and said they’re sorry,” she said. “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.”
“It’s a big song, and he didn’t take the necessary steps to make sure that it was appropriate,” Koestner says. “Normally they do have due diligence.”
In the past, for example, production staff for “The Devil Wears Prada” asked to use the name in the movie. “They made a donation to TBTN and contacted us to make sure it matched our mission and philosophy,” Koestner says. “Another good example is that CSI did an episode with our name and they staged an entire march and rally as part of the show. Not only did they donate to us, but they used our logo properly.”
“Usually people are pretty mindful because no one is actually ‘for’ sexual assault,” she explains. “This whole thing with Justin is just really unfortunate and we’re hoping it can be amicably resolved.”