Justin Bieber has released a public apology for a years-old video that surfaced over the weekend. The clip shows the then-teenage singer telling a racist joke and using the N-word.
“I’m very sorry,” Bieber said, in a statement to the Associated Press. “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. I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but I 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 of those who I have offended.”
Bieber also noted 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. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what’s right….Once again … I’m sorry.”
The video, which was filmed while Bieber was making his 2011 concert documentary Never Say Never (but obviously didn’t make it into the movie’s final cut), was first published on the website for the British tabloid The Sun. According to TMZ, Bieber was 15 years old at the time of filming.