don lemon

*Are we to blame for Justin Bieber’s past use of the n-word?

That’s the question CNN’s Don Lemon posed Thursday during an appearance on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The news man was on the shock jock’s show to address Bieber’s repeated use of the n-word and ask whether culture as a whole deserves some of the blame.

Bieber has garnered recent headlines pertaining to the release of two videos that show him using the n-word. The first clip features the pop star using the word in a racist joke, while the other clip includes Bieber using the word in a parody of one of his songs.

“Some are saying Bieber is racist,” Lemon said. “Is he? I don’t know. But I do know that this is the danger of the proliferation of the use of the n-word.” He said people hear the word in music and on the street to the point where “subliminally the become immune.” And he recalled times he has heard it recently in public, from and about people of all ethnicities.

“Clearly Justin Bieber, a young man who by the way, has immersed himself in black, hip hop culture should not be saying the n-word,” the news anchor concluded. “So the question is, if you want people like Justin Bieber to stop using it and to stop making excuses for using it, shouldn’t you do the same?”

Lemon’s commentary comes amid news that TMZ.com held on to one of Bieber’s videos for years in order to extort the pop singer. On Tuesday, the U.K.’s Sun published footage of a 15-year-old Bieber singing “One Less Lonely N*gger,” a racist parody of the entertainer’s hit “One Less Lonely Girl.”

According to Gawker’s Defamer, “multiple sources with knowledge of TMZ’s editorial operations” say the site held the tape since 2010 to get Bieber to cooperate on stories and make appearances at TMZ. A TMZ spokesman countered the report, saying the allegation was “completely not true.”

In the past week, Bieber has tried to do damage control with issuing two separate apologies for the incidents.