Justin Bieber has apologised for telling a racist joke.

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

After the footage was posted online today (01.06.14), he issued a statement to GossipCop.com 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.''

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.