"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize... to absolutely f**king nobody," the pop star told the crowd.
He was possibly referring to his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears, who made some shocking allegations about Timberlake in her 2023 book The Woman in Me. Spears apparently felt bad about some of the blowback he received, which led her to apologize in a Jan. 28 Instagram post.
"I wanna apologize for some of the things I wrote about in my book," Spears said. "If I offended any of the people I genuinely care about I am deeply sorry."
"I also wanted to say I am in love with Justin Timberlake’s new song ‘Selfish,’" Spears wrote. "It is soo good and how come every time I see Justin and Jimmy together I laugh so hard."
The post came after Spears' fans pushed her 2011 song "Selfish" to the top of the iTunes Top Tracks chart just one day after Timberlake released his new single.
The track will be on the singer's new album Everything I Thought I Was, which is due out on March 15.
In her 2023 book, Spears revealed that she had an abortion during her relationship with Timberlake.
"Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young," she wrote.
"It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn’t a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. I don’t know if that was the right decision. If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn’t want to be a father."
Timberlake and Spears dated from 1999 to 2002. The pair met when both were cast for the Disney program Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s.
Many social media users weren't happy with Timberlake's conduct at the Irving Plaza show.
"Looks like your new single is flopping," said the person who uploaded a video of Timberlake's statement to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
"Last time you were flopping you brought up Britney Spears name. Not this time! Your true colors and disrespect will get you nowhere."
Many other commenters agreed.
"Well lets be honest, if we remove Britney's name from his career what is left? The year is 2024 and he is still bringing her name up to get attention," one said. "TBH, JT is too old to behave like a child and I really want the best for him because he's talented but there's far too much YIKES in his personality."
But the NSYNC alum, who reunited with his bandmates while recording the new album has his supporters, as well.
"He’s literally selling out shows and having to add shows, that’s not flopping," one person said.