As far as apologies go, Justin Bieber’s didn’t pull any punches.
It had been thought the singer’s mea culpa would come down the pipe on Monday. But just hours after the UK’s The Sun on Sunday published a video of the then 15-year-old telling a joke repeatedly using the N-word, Bieber released a detailed, seemingly sincere apology for his years-old gaffe.
Clearly it was written with the help of Bieber’s team. The Canadian’s atrocious syntax is well known. But, the sense that the 20-year-old is mortified over the exposing of his five-year-old racial slur runs through his apology.
Wisely, Bieber’s statement stuck to the business at hand, despite the unfairness of The Sun hiking up the singer’s age to 17 in their report.
The tabloid itself admits the footage was part of wider filming for the concert-film Never Say Never.
Simple math reveals Bieber was still 16 when the biopic was released on February 11, 2011, while actual shooting took place in 2010 and footage from previous years was also used.
Bieber’s press-released apology read:
“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 thanked his “friends and family” for helping him to learn from his mistakes as he grew up, adding that he needed to “apologize again to all those I have offended” now that “these mistakes have become public.”
“I’m sorry,” Bieber continued. Then, with an implied nod to the many African-American ties and associations in his life, added:
“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.”
As noted by an increasing number of observers and fans, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson was recently allegedly caught on film using the N-word while smoking marijuana with band member Zayn Malik on their way to a gig in Peru, Central America.
At one point, narrator Louis allegedly referred to the joint saying, “It’s only green, n**,” which is believed to be a shortened version of the N-word.
Homophobic references were also allegedly made by the boy band duo.
Towards the end of his apology, Bieber said:
“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.”
The singer signed off, saying: “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.”
Say what you will about the ludicrousness of a 20-year-old previously accused of “trying to be black” now being called a racist because of a juvenile, racial slur made as a child. But Bieber has met the race storm being inflated around him with an earnest, heartfelt apology.
When will Louis Tomlinson do the same?
(Photo: Boxer pal Floyd Mayweather made a statement in support of Bieber after the N-word race row exploded.)