Apologies for Racist Jokes, Homophobic Slur

Justin Bieber and Jonah Hill have more than their celebrity in common this week. Both have apologized for making offensive comments.

Two six-year-old videos of Bieber telling racist jokes surfaced, and he has apologized. TMZ published his statement:

Justin tells TMZ, "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."

Justin goes on, "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."

Justin continues, "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."


And Justin says, "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."

Justin ends with this: "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."

But an LA Times article called this apology and another that quoted scripture "unacceptable." The videos are disturbing: in one he asks, "Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?" and then imitates the sound of a chainsaw and repeats "n..." several times. 

Another apology this week came from Jonah Hill. In this (albeit very different) situation, Hill yelled a homophobic slur to a paparazzo. We see his apology here on the Jimmy Fallon show:


Discussion Starters:

  • What's your assessment of Beiber's comments and apology? Do you agree with the LA Times article that his apology was insufficient? Should he have done something different?
  • How do you interpret Hill's remark, given his vocal support of LGBTQ equality? What's your assessment of his apology?