Justin Bieber has apologized for the racist joke he was caught making in a newly-released video.
“As a kid, I didn’t understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt. I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance,” the singer told Access Hollywood in a statement on Sunday, after a clip of a then-15-year-old Bieber telling a joke that included repeated use of the n-word had made the Internet rounds. “Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologized for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all those I have offended.
“I’m very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake,” the statement continues. “I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again. Ignorance has no place in our society and I hope the sharing of my faults can prevent others from making the same mistake in the future. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what’s right.”
The 20-year-old star’s statement concluded with, “Five years ago I made a reckless and immature mistake and I’m grateful to those close to me who helped me learn those lessons as a young man. Once again… I’m sorry.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Britain’s The Sun newspaper released a video of a 15-year-old Bieber sitting with friends before proceeding to tell a joke.
“Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?” he asks in the clip.
An off-camera voice cautions, “Don’t say it – don’t even say it.”
But the singer proceeds with the punchline, making chainsaw sounds as he says, “Run, n****r,” which he repeats several times.
The paper claims Bieber’s camp tried to purchase the old clip “for a huge sum of money” to keep it from going public.
-- Erin O’Sullivan