It seems like there's a new "controversy" surrounding JUSTIN BIEBER every week.  Here's the latest:  Video has surfaced of Justin telling a racist joke to some friends, and it includes the N-word.


The video was shot five years ago, which would mean Justin was about 15 years old.  For the record, he DID know he was being filmed at the time.


It's very immature, and not a good look for Justin . . . and his people know that.  Supposedly, they tried to pay-off whoever had the video to keep it from leaking, but that didn't work out.


Justin released this apology yesterday:  Quote, "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 realize at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance . . .


"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 was a kid then and I am a man now . . . 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 . . . [It was] a reckless and immature mistake."


(You can read his whole statement, here.)


(For what it's worth, Justin's former bodyguard Kenny Hamilton, who IS African-American, is defending Justin on Twitter.  In a series of a half dozen tweets he basically says it was a bad joke, but that he knows Justin's heart, and he isn't racist.  You'll find his Twitter feed, here.)