Is Justin Timberlake Going To Be Sued Over "Take Back The Night"?

His new single shares a name with a famous anti-sexual violence foundation, and they’re not happy about it. posted on

1. Justin Timberlake’s latest single has a pretty, um, interesting title.

The Associated Press / AP

“Take Back the Night” doesn’t refer only to the new JT song you’re going to hear way too much of on the radio this summer — it’s also a history-making foundation that frequently organizes events to raise awareness of sexual violence and rape.

2. The Take Back the Night Foundation has arranged marches and rallies since the 1970s to protest rape and sexual assault against women.

The first Take Back the Night rally took place in 1975 to protest the murder of microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth, who was killed less than a block away from her door as she was walking home after dark. Since then, the organization has provided resources and raised awareness to combat sexual violence for over 35 years at thousands of colleges, women’s centers, and rape crisis centers internationally.

3. Here are some lyrics from Justin Timberlake’s song.

Tonight the night’s, come on surrender
I won’t lead your love astray, astray, yeah
Your love’s a weapon
Give your body some direction
That’s my aim

Take back the night
Come on, use me up until there’s nothing left
Take back the night
Dizzy, spinning, sweating, you can’t catch your breath
Take back the night
Ooh, don’t know when the sun is rising next
Take back the night
So if the feeling’s right, then raise your glass and let’s
Take back the night

4. Some Twitter users have questioned Timberlake’s appropriation of the phrase.

"Take Back the Night" proves that artists should really google stuff before they release it.

is jt calling his new song ‘take back the night’ a way for him to ride the controversy about ‘blurred lines’ (i will not use the ‘r’ word)

Of course I didn't know what Take Back The Night was, my parents raised me to be famous, not a guy who knows about things -Justin Timberlake

Not one? Not one person in Justin Timberlake's team had heard about Take Back The Night?!! Or say, just one of the women in his life? #fail

The Associated Press / AP

10. Katherine Koestner, the Executive Director of the Take Back the Night Foundation, had this to say to RadarOnline.

Everyone at Take Back the Night is really shocked, because normally, we get asked when people want to use the name. Normally entities as large as Justin Timberlake do very kind and thoughtful things to support our cause…we have some big concerns. For example, all of a sudden on Wikipedia, Take Back the Night has a different definition. That’s not been helpful.

11. Koestner went on to discuss potential legal action that the foundation may take if the issue isn’t resolved.

We tried to contact him through his website and got no answer. 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. 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.

12. In a statement to RadarOnline, Timberlake addressed the organization’s concerns.

I wanted to take this opportunity to let all know that neither my song nor its lyrics have any association with the organization. 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.

13. Now the Wikipedia page for the phrase “Take Back the Night” directs to Timberlake’s single, as opposed to the foundation.

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