Skip to main content

Justin Bieber apologizes for racist joke

By Dana Ford, CNN
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Trouble seems to pursue pop star Justin Bieber. In January, he was charged with driving under the influence in Miami, a case he settled in August <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/13/showbiz/justin-bieber-miami-plea/'>by pleading guilty</a> to careless driving and resisting arrest. And he is on probation for a <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/09/showbiz/justin-bieber-vandalism/index.html'>vandalism conviction</a> that resulted from egging a neighbor's home. Click through to see more of Bieber's troubles in the last couple of years. Trouble seems to pursue pop star Justin Bieber. In January, he was charged with driving under the influence in Miami, a case he settled in August by pleading guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest. And he is on probation for a vandalism conviction that resulted from egging a neighbor's home. Click through to see more of Bieber's troubles in the last couple of years.
HIDE CAPTION
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • TMZ posts video of 15-year-old Justin Bieber telling a racist joke
  • Now 20, he says he's sorry for the "childish and inexcusable mistake"
  • Bieber: "I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world"

(CNN) -- Justin Bieber was in serious damage control mode Sunday after a video of him telling a racist joke to friends surfaced.

In the video, posted to TMZ.com, the pop star, then 15, asks: "Why are black people afraid of chain saws?"

He answers his own question: "Run n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****," he says, imitating the sound of a chain saw. Then he laughs.

TMZ reported it got the video four years ago but decided against posting it then because of Bieber's age and because he "immediately told his friends what he did was stupid." It was reportedly shot backstage at a promotional event.

Justin Bieber apologizes for N-word joke

"As a young man, 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 realize at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance," Bieber, now 20, said in a statement.

Bieber being sued by photographer
Bieber accused of attempted robbery

He added: "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."

The video is the latest in a string of troubles for the star, who shot to fame as a fresh-faced teen.

There was a DUI arrest in Miami, an assault charge in Toronto and a felony vandalism probe in Los Angeles.

Also, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating allegations that Bieber and other passengers aboard a charter flight from Canada to New Jersey's Teterboro Airport interfered with the flight crew.

None of the criminal charges that Bieber faces appear to threaten his freedom. Probation sentences, fines, community service and counseling are routinely given in such cases.

Opinion: Bieber, don't argue with the lawyers

CNN's Ed Payne and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Justin Bieber
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1749 GMT (0149 HKT)
Tom Hanks doesn't need to bring a present to a wedding. His dance moves are the gift that keeps on giving.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Justin Bieber was in serious damage control mode after a video of him telling a racist joke to friends surfaced.
March 11, 2014 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
Don't ask Justin Bieber about Selena Gomez. It's a touchy subject.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
A Florida court technician has the job of blurring Justin Bieber's private parts on jail video before you can see it.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Police searching Justin Bieber's limo found illegal drugs and paraphernalia, a police report said.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 2206 GMT (0606 HKT)
Justin Bieber's focusing on making new music in the hip-hop capital of Atlanta, while lawyers in three other cities prepare to defend him in court.
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 0124 GMT (0924 HKT)
Justin Bieber was under the influence of alcohol, pot and Xanax when police stopped him for drag racing in Miami Beach, police documents allege.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT)
Several photographs of Justin Bieber showing his tattoos to police were released to the media.
January 26, 2014 -- Updated 0156 GMT (0956 HKT)
A rich kid gets pulled over driving a yellow Lamborghini in Miami Beach by police and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence while allegedly street racing.
February 19, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Judging by his mugshot, Justin Bieber didn't seem to be too bothered by his arrest.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 2213 GMT (0613 HKT)
Pop star Justin Bieber was charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.
January 24, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
CNN's John Berman re-enacts the conversation Justin Bieber had with police during his arrest.
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 0211 GMT (1011 HKT)
Here's yet another time when I'm oh-so-thankful my kids are too young to a) be Justin Bieber fans and b) know anything about his arrest.
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 2233 GMT (0633 HKT)
See who's in the pop star's inner circle.
January 26, 2014 -- Updated 2253 GMT (0653 HKT)
Justin Bieber turned 19 on March 1. He won't be able to claim the "teen" in his pop star title for much longer.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Bieber was raised in a Christian household by his evangelical mother. Check out other stars who are religious.
ADVERTISEMENT