Justin Bieber has apologized for telling a racist joke when he was 15-years-old, after a leaked video of him repeating the N-word was published by a British tabloid. ‘I was a kid then and I am a man now.”
Justin Bieber has apologized for telling a racist joke five years ago in which he repeated the N-word five times in video footage published by The Sun on Sunday newspaper. The footage was subsequently posted by TMZ who refused to post it years ago, due to the singer’s age.
In the video — reportedly filmed while the then 15-year-old was backstage at a promotional event five years ago — Bieber is seen and heard saying to friends, “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?” His punchline, “Run, N****r,” was repeated.
“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.”
Justin went on, “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.”
The singer continued “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.”
Justin declared: “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.”
Bieber ended his apology, staying: “I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what’s right.”
“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.”
The gist of the singer’s apology is that his N-word joke was down to youthful folly.
It’s well documented that Bieber was mentored by Usher at the beginning of his career, later befriending many African-American artists, rappers, celebrities and ex-bodyguard Kenny Hamilton, who defended the singer on Sunday.
“As a black man I am telling the world that @justinbieber is not a racist,” Hamilton tweeted. “I have known him since he was 12 years old and I know his heart.”
In the The Sun’s original report, a source allegedly said:
“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. This could be the end of the road for him if artists refuse to work with him based on this.”
Perhaps less inflationary observers will decide a 15-year’s-old’s immature, racist joke that he has now apologized for doesn’t have to define his entire life, particularly as he is capable of so much more.