June 01, 2014 3:09pm PT by THR Staff
Justin Bieber Apologizes for Racist Joke in Years-Old Video
Justin Bieber has apologized for a racist joke heard during a five-year-old video clip of the singer that was widely circulated online, calling the comment a "reckless and immature mistake."
In the clip -- which was originally recorded when the singer was 15 but has recently surfaced by British tabloid newspaper The Sun on Sunday -- the pop star is heard telling a joke with a racist punch line. It has since been posted on TMZ.
Bieber is heard asking, "Why are black people afraid of chain saws?" He then answers his own query with a reference to the N-word.
Bieber, through a representative, released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter addressing the matter:
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.