Feeling ‘inspired’ by the speech, Timberlake, 35 tweeted Williams with the hashtag #inspired in a since deleted message.
Followers of Timberlake called out the message for being insensitive, but it was Ernest Owens who drew the attention of the singer, saying, “So does this mean you're going to stop appropriating our music and culture? And apologize to Janet too. #BETAwards”.
Replying to Owens, the Grammy winner, further stirred up controversy with the following tweet.
Several hours later Timberlake issued a statement on Twitter saying he regretted his response to the Owens’s tweet and further clarified his stance.
Prior to his online dialogue with Owens, Timberlake also re-tweeted bandleader of The Roots, Questlove who called for Williams to ‘run in 2016’, a reference to the US presidential elections.