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Why did TMZ suppress Justin Bieber's racial slur-filled video?

6/12/2014 Kat Giantis
© /Getty Images North America

One of the more interesting aspects surrounding the release of tworacist Justin Bieber videos is TMZ's revelation that it obtained the footage in question four years ago but decided not to release it. Given that the site is known for its exclusives, not its benevolence, that nugget of information has some wondering what was in it for them.

According to TMZ, the decision not to post was made "in large part because [Justin] was 15 and immediately told his friends what he did was stupid."

But has another, less altruistic take on the situation.

"TMZ has been sitting on this video for 3+ years and have been using it as essentially ransom so that Bieber and his team would cooperate with them and give them scoops," alleges a former TMZ staffer. "It was very close to being released initially, but his team was able to convince them not to by giving them access and compliance."

A rep for TMZ adamantly denies any deal was made, calling the claim "completely not true."

Meanwhile, Page Six says "15 to 20 more minutes" of similarly racial slur-laden Bieber video could be released.

"This is all the same footage someone had been trying to blackmail Justin over for years. It was made when he was 14 or 15," explains a member of Team Bieber. "At the time, he realized it was wrong and went to [mentors] Usher and Will Smith, who helped educate him. He’s now a 20-year-old who's taken responsibility.”

In his latest mea culpa, issued after the release of a second video in which he liberally uses the n-word and jokes about the KKK, Justin said, "Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. 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."


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