KEY POINTS

  • Sam Asghari made a subtle reference to Justin Timberlake in a new Instagram Story post
  • Twitter users wondered whether or not Asghari was throwing shade at Britney Spears' ex-boyfriend
  • Timberlake's name was trending on Twitter following the release of "Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson"

Britney Spears' fiance Sam Asghari is raising some eyebrows after making a reference to her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

On Saturday, the 27-year-old fitness guru shared a screenshot of a Variety article, titled "Britney Spears' Fiancé Sam Asghari Thanks Pop Singer for Helping Put His Acting Career 'On the Map,'" via his Instagram Story, E! News reported.

"Bringing sexy back is cool and all, but bringing (real) back in Hollywood is even sexier," Asghari wrote alongside the image, adding a winking face with tongue emoji.

The reference to "bringing sexy back" immediately had fans thinking of the former ‘NSync member, 40, and his 2006 hit "SexyBack."

"Did Sam Asghari just drag Justin Timberlake," one person asked on Twitter. Another tweeted, "Did Sam just shade JT?"

Timberlake has not yet commented on Asghari's remarks.

However, around the time the Asghari Fitness founder made the post, Timberlake's name had been trending on Twitter since the night before following the Hulu and FX premiere of The New York Times documentary, "Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson," which had sparked renewed criticism of Timberlake.

The program focuses on the controversy that erupted during Janet Jackson's headlining set at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. At the time, guest performer Timberlake had ripped off a piece of Jackson's outfit, exposing one of her breasts in front of the millions of viewers to her horror.

The documentary showed how TV executives, the media and the public blamed Jackson for the "wardrobe malfunction." The incident later affected her career but not the "Cry Me A River" crooner's, fueling questions of whether racism and sexism played a part in that.

In February, Timberlake apologized to Jackson and Spears after The New York Times documentary "Framing Britney Spears" debuted on FX and Hulu. The documentary focused on Spears' legal and personal turmoil and revealed how she was shamed by the media, as well as by Timberlake after their 2002 split.

"I've seen the messages, tags, comments and concerns and I want to respond," Timberlake wrote on Instagram at the time. "I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right. I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism."

He added, "I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed."

Meanwhile, Asghari recently expressed his joy after Spears was finally freed from her 13-year conservatorship and praised the pop superstar for her positive influence on his life.

"She’s been a rock. She inspires me. She loves her fans. So you know, all the fans and her effort, kind of make this become, you know, possible. So I’m happy for her," Asghari told Variety of his fiancée at the premiere of "House of Gucci" at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Thursday.

Britney Spears and Sam Asghari Briney Spears was spotted with her boyfriend Sam Asgari recently. In Picture: Honoree Britney Spears (L) and Sam Asghari attend the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Getty Images/Vivien Killilea