Bieber sorry for N-word video

Warning: The video, and this story, contain offensive language. - IOL

Justin Bieber. File picture: Francois Mori. Credit: Associated Press

Justin Bieber has apologised for telling a racist joke.

The Confident hitmaker, 20, says he made an "childish and inexcusable mistake" by repeatedly using the N-word in a controversial video, captured five years ago.

After the footage was posted online on Sunday, he issued a statement to saying: "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 realise at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance."

He added: "Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologised for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologise again to all those I have offended. I'm very sorry."

The Canadian star, whose friends say he is "trying to be a person" after displaying a string of bad behaviour in recent months, insists he isn't racist and respects all cultures.

He continued: "I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what's right. 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."

The Daily Mail reports that his statement also said: '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.

In the clip, the singer was filmed saying the N-word five times. He asked: 'Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?' before making the noise of a chainsaw and concluding the joke with 'Run n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****.'

A source previously claimed that Justin and his management had known about the video for a while and tried to pay for it to be kept out of the public eye. - Bang Showbiz