Justin Bieber is reflecting and apologizing for controversial video footage released yesterday that shows the then 15-year-old singer telling a racist joke and using the N-word.

In a heartfelt statement released to Us Weekly, Bieber said:

"As a kid, 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," he revealed in the lengthy apology. "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 those I have offended. 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," he continued. "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," Bieber concluded. 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."

In the video, which was shot while filming his 2011 documentary 'Never Say Never,' a young Bieber is seen joking, "Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?" before revealing the offensive punchline.

Coincidentally, Louis Tomlinson of One Direction also faced claims of racism this week after he was also taped using the N-word in the now-viral video of him and Zayn Malik seemingly smoking a joint. He has yet to make a statement or release an apology for the backlash.

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