“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,” he said in a statement released to the media.
The controversy erupted today when London tabloid, The Sun, published the video today (June 1) in its Sunday online edition. The video, from 2011, quickly went viral.
Justin Bieber’s Racist Joke Apology
“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.”
“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. 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.”
“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 video is all the more disturbing because Bieber knew he was on camera and was urged repeatedly by someone out of view to stop telling the joke.
Bieber was filming his documentary “Never Say Never” at the time. There has been some confusion about his age. Sites like TMZ reported that he was 15 years old, but he was actually 17 years old.
In the scene, the teen idol mischievously begins: “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?”
“Don’t even say it,” says a voice off-screen
“Don’t….” the voice pleads.
But Justin laughingly bursts out the punchline: “Run ni*ga, nig*a, nig*a, nig*a, nig*a,” mimicking the sound of a chainsaw motor.
The joke plays off the racial violence perpetrated against African-Americans during the Jim Crow era in the United States.
Singer, now 20, has morphed from a fresh-faced teen idol into a more hardened look, with a full complement of tattoos and an entourage of black friends.
But the incident comes on the heels of other racially charged incident. Rapper Lil’ Wayne threatened to kill Justin’s manager Scooter Braun.
Wayne charged that Braun was blaming Justin’s recent spate of problems on Wayne protege, Lil Za, real name Xavier Dominique Smith. Wayne did not threaten Justin.
Za, 20, was with Bieber when police swarmed his house in January armed with a felony search warrant as part of a vandalism investigation. Za was charged with possession of drugs found in Bieber’s home.
Check out the statement, and click here to see Bieber’s racist joke video. At 17, should he have known better? Let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest Justin Bieber updates you can trust.