Justin Bieber may have fallen from grace in the public eye, but some celebrities are sticking by his side. The pop star, 20, caused yet another controversy this week when videos surfaced showing him at a younger age, making racist remarks and using the N-word.
Public outcry was swift, and Bieber responded by releasing a statement apologizing for his actions in the past.
"Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with," the controversial figure said. "But I feel now that I need to take responsibility for those mistakes and not let them linger. I just hope that the next 14-year-old kid who doesn’t understand the power of these words does not make the same mistakes I made years ago. At the end of the day I just need to step up and own what I did."
It seems that some stars, however, think Bieber should not be judged so harshly.
Actor Russell Brand spoke out on Bieber's behalf, saying that he shouldn't be criticized for mistakes he made years ago. "It was ages ago when he used to have that haircut," Brand said of the video. "You can’t do him for stuff he [has] done when he had that haircut."
"Unless we’re going to explicitly say the role of celebrities is we're going to make them really, really famous and then we’re going to destroy them and rip them up in a public square with fish hooks, which, you know as long as you don't get round to me, I’m not against," he continued. "But we might as well own up to it if that is what we’re up to, otherwise just let him off. Of course it’s wrong to say the N-word, but he’s a child."
50 Cent gave his two cents on the matter to The Sun, highlighting Bieber's age at the time of the incident as well. "I don’t think he’s racist," the rapper said. "I don’t think he even knows who he is at this point—he’s so young. When you see people become huge stars real early, it’s tough for them… You have to grow up with all these expectations. I think Justin’s still a baby and he’s lost."
After the first video came to light, which showed a teenage Bieber making a racist joke and invoking the N-word as the punchline, Floyd Mayweather took to Twitter to defend the singer. "Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters & sons over the years," the boxer wrote. "We all make mistakes when we are young, it’s part of growing up."
Whoopi Goldberg commented on Bieber on her platform of choice, her talk show The View. "Trouble just keeps finding Justin Bieber. Every time you turn around, the boy's in trouble," she said. "He's issued an apology saying he was too young to understand and he's Canadian. There's a reason I say this. The power of certain words and how they can hurt, you chalk it up to youthful ignorance, do you? I have to. You know, Canadian words—I'm going to say the word so get ready to bleep me. N----r doesn't mean anything in Canada… Black Canadians and Black Americans are two separate groups of people… I don't mean to say Canadians have been throwing it around. I don't think, that when they hear the songs that everyone is playing, and every other word is n----r...What I'm saying is that, when you are 15 and you're someplace where that's not a word that you have associated with people of color in Canada, they just weren't calling them that."
Bieber's mentor Usher also recently spoke about his protege in the new issue of Nylon Guys. "I gave every bit of advice and always told him it was up to him if he really wanted this. Now that he has it, as an adult, it's his to manage," the R&B singer says in the cover interivew. "Do I turn my head in shame based off of what I see, what I know? Nah, I don't because it's all part of life's process. Am I in it with him? Yeah."