R&B star Usher has refused the chance to defend his protegee Justin Bieber following his racist joke scandal, fleeing in a car when he was asked to comment on the furore. The Baby singer issued a public apology on Sunday (01Jun14) after the emergence of footage showing him using the ‘N-word’ and grinning in amusement. The clip sparked outrage, and Bieber later called it a “reckless and immature mistake”, adding that he was just 15 years old when the video was shot and he “didn’t understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt”.
His famous pals, including boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and rapper Soulja Boy, have stepped up to defend the troubled star over the controversy, but Usher – who has mentored the singer since he was an unknown teenager – pointedly declined the chance to speak out for his young charge on Monday (02Jun14). The Burn hitmaker was spotted leaving a restaurant in Los Angeles, and when he was asked by a reporter from TMZ.com about the Bieber incident, he broke into a run, leaped into a waiting sports utility vehicle (SUV), and sped away without a word.
Earlier this week (beg02Jun14), Mayweather, Jr. showed his support for Bieber by posting a picture of the pair together on his Instagram page, adding in a caption, “Justin has been nothing but kind to me, my daughters and sons over the years. We all make mistakes when we are young, it’s part of growing up. I am proud of what he’s doing as a 20 year old musician and business man.”
Bieber has also received support from fellow musician Soulja Boy, who tells TMZ.com, “I talked to Justin yesterday. I called him. He (is) in Cancun (in Mexico). We spoke about it. It’s really just so old man. He was 15… The footage was super old. It was a very touchy, serious situation, but we all slip up, we all make mistakes and I told him, man I said, ‘You’re a great person…’ He said, ‘Thank you… for having my back.’ It is what it is. Let the kid live. We all slip up, we all make mistakes. Y’all know he’s not racist. I’m his homie, all his homies is black (sic)… he’s not racist.”