An old video of Justin Bieber telling a racist joke and repeatedly using the N-word surfaced online Sunday [GMT time.]
The footage was obtained by The Sun and allegedly filmed backstage at a promotional date in 2010 when the singer was still just 15-years-old, according to TMZ.
The Sun claims Bieber’s camp tried to buy the footage in order to prevent it from becoming public.
In the video, the ‘younger’ Justin asks: “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?”
The ‘joke’ — which is the type of unthinking stupidity kids tell each other in playgrounds past and present — plays on the N-word to imitate the sound of a chainsaw.
“Run n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****” is the punchline to the so-called ‘joke.’
Another child who is not seen on the video can be heard laughing, while Justin also laughs.
An individual who isn’t in shot warns: “Don’t even say it. Don’t say it.” A female, also not on camera says, “You could say motorcycle too, right?”
A source allegedly told The Sun:
“This video is Justin Bieber and his camp’s worst nightmare. Even after the year he’s had — when he’s never been far from controversy, this tops the lot.”
Adding, “Justin has been taken under his wing by some of the best in the industry and they won’t stand by him after this. This will be a real kick in the teeth, showing his true colours on film.”
“He’s made millions from working with musicians from all ethnic backgrounds. Having this attributed to him will do him no favours in the future. This could be the end of the road for him if artists refuse to work with him based on this. And it sets a seriously bad example to his impressionable fans.”
As yet Bieber and his camp haven’t responded publicly to the video, but according to TMZ the Canadian singer is “frustrated and sad” and will address the furor “in the next day.”
Even though the footage of Bieber telling the ‘racist joke’ is several years old, it remains to be seen whether he will get a “pass.”
Naturally, The Sun has gone big on the story, and given the perpetual racial tensions in the US the British outlet has a red-hot trigger topic to exploit.
In the wake of celebrity chef Paula Deen and the former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling being penalized for extreme racism — which they displayed as much older adults — society’s views on what is racist and the context of racism are in the spotlight.
One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson was recently seen in a video obtained by the UK’s’ Daily Mail smoking marijuana with his band member Zayn Malik while they toured in Peru, Central America last month.
Tomlinson is seen referring to the joint saying, “It’s green only, n***a,” which is a shortened version of the N-word.
Louis is also heard using the word “gay” in a derogatory way. He has yet to apologize for the “N-word” usage or homophobia.
While the 2011 N-word clip is indisputable, as Bieber got older it’s clear he has continued to engage with black people both personally and professionally.
Bieber is well known for his ties and associations in the African-American community.
These include mentor Will Smith, music collaborator Will.i.am., numerous basketball players, boxer Floyd Mayweather and the pals he is constantly seen with.
In fact, the singer has previously been ridiculed and criticised by some in the media as well as celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne for the color of the company he keeps.
“It’s not your place to judge, God put these people in my life for a reason and just because they are African –American that makes them bad people?”
“These are people that I love and all of us are going to help make the world a better place,” he added.
Right from the start of his career Justin has worked with and appeared in music videos with rappers and singers of different ethnicities.
These include the rapper Ludacris on Bieber’s 2010’s single “Baby,” the singer/rapper Sean Kingston on “Eenie Meenie” and sang with his first mentor Usher on “Somebody To Love” that same year.
Usher, who is African-American, signed Bieber to a production deal — which incorporated manager Scooter Braun — at his RBMG Records label in 2008, before the singer signed to Island Def Jam Music Group.
Justin then worked with Boyz II Men and Chris Brown in 2011, featured rappers Nicki Minaj and Big Sean on his 2012 album Believe, and collaborated with a host of MC’s for his 2013 Journals collection — including Lil Wayne and Chance The Rapper.
Bieber’s video gaffe essentially shows a child telling a racist joke very likely heard or read somewhere.
It’s a sign of the times that negative reaction to the clip will probably ignore his young age, as an almighty row inflated by The Sun gets underway.
What do you think of the offensive Bieber footage? Do you think it makes a difference that it is old?
Sound off below.
(Photo: Bieber and Usher at the Believe premiere in December, 2013.)
[Images via Instagram.]
[Images via Mail Online.]