*Something must be in the water with the teeny-bopper heartthrobs – as two superstars made headlines in the same week for using the N-word in leaked video.
Days ago, One Direction’s Liam Tomlinson was overheard using what sounded like an abbreviated version of the N-word during the already infamous leaked video of him and bandmate Zayn Malik smoking a joint on the way to a gig in Peru.
Today, Justin Bieber is apologizing after a years-old video surfaced showing the then-teenager telling a racist joke with the N-word.
In the video, he is seen asking his female friend, “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?”
The punchline shows him grinning as he makes a whirring noise with the punchline: “Run n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****.”
In a statement Sunday to The Associated Press, Bieber said when he was a kid he didn’t realize how certain words could hurt. He says he learned from his mistakes and apologized for them, and is now apologizing again because they have become public.
“I’m very sorry,” Bieber said. “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.”
The British tabloid The Sun first published the video, which is five years old. In it, a then 15-year-old Bieber tells a joke about black people that has the racial epithet as the punchline. Before he says it, someone warns him not to — but he says it anyway amid laughter.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
In his statement, Bieber said 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.”
He ends the statement by saying “Once again … I’m sorry.”
The Sun reports today that the singer’s ‘people’ have known for some time of the existence of the clip, which was filmed during the making of his 2011 documentary ‘ Never Say Never’ and made efforts to keep it from being made public.
No reports yet on how the ‘joke’ has gone down with some of Bieber’s famous mentors – including the African-American stars Usher, Will.i.am and Will Smith.
Watch the video below.