According to The Sun newspaper in England, who first posted the video, Bieber's people knew of the existence of the footage and even made an unsuccessful attempt to buy it. Meanwhile, TMZ claims to have had the clip years ago, but decided not to post it due to the star's young age.
In the wake of the video's release, Bieber, now 20, released a statement, reading:
"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. 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. 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. 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."
Bieber is due to appear in court in July to face DUI charges, as well as charges of driving without a license and resisting arrest without violence. He is also facing possible charges in Toronto, Canada for the alleged assault of a limo driver, and is under investigation for felony vandalism for allegedly throwing eggs at his neighbor's house.
Floyd Mayweather came to Bieber's defense. The pro boxer tweeted:
Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters & sons over the years. We all make mistakes when we are young, it’s part of growing up.