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.”
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.