The Canadian singer could be seen telling a racist joke – in which he uses the n-word – in a video published by the Sun On Sunday yesterday (June 1). The footage was reportedly filmed for Bieber’s 2011 documentary Never Say Never, and the newspaper claims that Bieber’s people have spent money trying to keep the clip out of the public eye.
The footage shows Bieber asking: “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?” The punchline sees Bieber repeating the phrase “Run n–” in the manner of a chainsaw engine five times. An unnamed associate, off-camera, can be heard warning Bieber not to proceed with the joke. After the set-up, the associate says: “Don’t even say it. Don’t say it.” The video can be seen below.
A statement from Justin Bieber released yesterday said: “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 realise 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 apologised for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologise again to all those I have offended.
“I’m very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologise 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.
Friends of Bieber, including the boxer Floyd Mayweather, have stepped in to show their support for the singer.
Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters & sons over the years. We all make mistakes when we are young, it’s part of growing up.
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) June 2, 2014