Justin Bieber apologized Sunday for a racist joke containing the N-word that he made while talking to a group of friends five years ago, according to media reports.
The Canadian-born pop sensation did not realize how the use of certain words could hurt others because he was a teenager at the time when he made the joke, the 20-year-old singer told Associated Press in a statement. The video was obtained by British tabloid The Sun in which the pop star told his friends a joke with a racist punch line. The video where Bieber asks, "Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?" while answering his own question with the N-word, was also posted by TMZ.
"I'm very sorry," Bieber reportedly said, in the statement. "I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behavior.”
“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 of those who I have offended. I'm very sorry.”
The British tabloid also reportedly said that Bieber’s camp tried to buy the video to keep it from being released publicly.
Bieber also reportedly said in the statement that "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,” and added that after giving it some thought, he realized that “telling the truth is always what's right." He concluded his statement saying: "Once again ... I'm sorry."
The singer has been involved in a string of controversies over the past few months and is scheduled to appear in court in July in connection to a DUI arrest and for driving with an expired license in Miami, Fla., earlier this year.