The image, which shows a girl wearing a revealing pair of tight-fitting shorts and Michael standing in front of her, sparked immediate controversy when he posted it online recently.
Some criticised Michael for sharing the photo without the girl's consent, while others jumped to his defence. The girl in the photo remains a mystery, but the singer has now come out with his own statement to address the backlash.
"I do not court controversy. But I realise that a photo that was meant to be complimentary and lighthearted has turned into a questionable issue," he wrote in a new post on Instagram.
"For the record, it hurts me deeply that anyone would think that I would disrespect women or be insulting to any human being," he continued.
Read the full statement below: