Justin Bieber Apologizes for Telling Racist Joke in Video

'Five years ago I made a reckless and immature mistake'

Justin Bieber
Anthony Harvey/FilmMagic
June 1, 2014 6:36 PM ET

Justin Bieber has apologized for telling a racist joke in a video recorded years ago that recently emerged online. The clip shows an obviously much-younger Bieber, telling a joke in which the punchline repeatedly uses the word "n----r."

The Evolution of Justin Bieber

In a statement on Sunday, Bieber attributed his use of the word to ignorance and immaturity and apologized profusely for telling the joke and hurting anyone.

"As a kid, I didn't understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt," he said. "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 emergence of the video is the latest in a series of public relations mishaps for Bieber, who was arrested in January for DUI and drag racing in Miami and has been embroiled in a number of other legal tussles in the months since. Despite all the notoriety, the pop star has continued to release music at a steady clip, most recently dropping the single "Looking for You," which he collaborated on with the Atlanta trio Migos.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »