Justin Bieber Apologizes for Racist Joke

PHOTO: Justin Bieber is pictured on May 22, 2014 in Cap dAntibes, France. PlayTony Barson/Getty Images
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Justin Bieber is apologizing for a mistake he made when he was 15.

At the time, the singer, who was being recorded in a video published by the Sun newspaper in the U.K., told a joke to a group of friends: "Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?" The punch line was repeatedly saying, "Run n*****."

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"As a young man, I didn't understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt," Bieber told ABC News in a statement. "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.

"Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all those I have offended," he added. "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."

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The singer, now 20, credited his friends and family for helping him learn from his mistakes. He added that he's apologized for his "wrongs."

"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 said. "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."