Justin Bieber Apologizes for Racist Joke

Singer says his use of the N-Word was a "childish" and "inexcusable mistake."

Posted: 06/02/2014 03:03 AM EDT
Justin Bieber

The Biebs is on clean up duty for making a racist joke. "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," he said. "Once again ... I'm sorry."

Video of a 15-year-old Justin Bieber talking to acquaintances backstage at a promotional event, with a cameraman knowingly present, surfaced online Sunday (June 1). "Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?" he asks. The punchline ended in an "er."

"As a kid, I didn't understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt," Bieber told TMZ in the aftermath. "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."

According to the site, there was one Black person in the room at the time Bieber made the joke. He says he apologized then, too. "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."

To the public, he offers, "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. 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."

At least one celebrity has already voiced support for Bieber, whose public image has taken hit after hit recently due to his antics and legal woes. "Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters and sons over the years," Floyd Mayweather Jr. posted to his Instagram Sunday night, captioning a photo of him and Bieber. "We all make mistakes when we are young, it's part of growing up. I am proud of what he's doing as a 20 year old musician and business man. #TMT."

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