Caleb Johnson Sets Record Straight About ‘Retards’ Remark [VIDEO]

American Idol season 13 finalist Caleb Johnson has issued another apology for calling his critics “retards” in a video interview last week. In the apology, this time on video rather than via Facebook, Caleb said his remark was not directed at his fans and he knows comment was wrong.

Caleb Johnson Retards

American Idol finalist Caleb Johnson was dragged over the coals by outraged fans of the show after an interview with AfterBuzz TV last week. While speaking to host Jason Ikeler, Caleb stated that social media “gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me.”

Caleb then went on to complain that he doesn’t “really enjoy having to see somebody tell me what song I need to sing… I don’t need 10,000 people telling me you should sing this, you should sing that, listen to me, listen to me. Fortunately guys, I’m going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not.”

The “retards” remark and the apparent diss against fans who sent in requests asking Caleb to sing their favorite songs got lumped together widely in the press. This lead to headlines and social media tags screaming that Caleb had called his fans “retards” — which wasn’t actually the case.

Even those who understood Caleb directed the remark at his critics and haters, and not his fans, were still very offended by his use of the word “retards,” which is considered by many to be as nasty as the N-word.

In a follow-up interview with AfterBuzz TV after his Top 4 performance, Caleb tried to clear the air about what he said last week and issued another apology for his comments.

“This whole experience has been so humbling… I’m grateful as a person. I wouldn’t be here for the love and support for my fans,” Caleb said. “So that whole interview was not in any way, shape or form directed toward the people who love and support me. The unfortunate thing about that was that I used a very inapporpiate comment that hurt and offended a lot of people. So I really just want to say, guys, I’m truly and deeply sorry that I said that comment… I did not want to hurt or offend anybody.”

“From that experience… I learned a really powerful lesson from that,” Caleb said. “You just gotta live and move on and learn from your mistakes. It was a pretty intense thing.”




  1. I hear him and for his sake I hope he don’t end up at the bottom tonight…

    • I bet 10 percent is all he lost of his fanbase which could make a big difference in him winning the show, but not tonight he will remain on it.

      • Perhaps things might have been a bit different if more people were aware of his interview?

  2. I don’t think he should have had to apologize in the first place, but hopefully this will prevent there from being any damage to his votes. I am not a big fan of his, and I want Alex to win all the way, but I still think this whole thing was way overblown.

    • This Isn’t the 1st time caleb has offended people and it won’t be the last this guy is more cockier than any other contestant i ever seen.

      Caleb is a self absorbed dude.

      • If you mean the “old ladies” comment, then I REALLY think that was blown out of proportion too. He was just joking around, and it IS an older song. I didn’t even think anyone could be offended by that until I read some people were.

      • he also had a comment about putting Peanuts in alex’s socks cause he’s allergic to them, and who could forget hookers and cocaine is his hometown. what a dude!

      • The peanuts one was also a joke, and Alex seemed to enjoy it. If I were allergic to peanuts, I certainly wouldn’t have been offended! I am allergic to certain medications, and had he said the same about those I would have chuckled. The cocaine one is the only one I find really potentially offensive.

      • Speaking of Alex … Did anyone see who was the very first person to run up to Alex and congratulate him after his smokin’ performance of the song “Yellow” this week. That’s right … It was Caleb.

      • no he said retards that means people with disabilities i had a grandaughter with disabilities and i take offense at anyone that uses that word it is a sad sad world

    HE APOLOGIZED TWO TIMES. What more do you people want?!?!
    Just forgive and forget, let it go!
    I thought what he said was rude, but he apologized. He knows what he said was wrong!

    • The guy called the people who made him where he is retards for crying out loud, we’re not talking about forgive and forget we’re talking about a guy who cleary thinks nothing of his fans and thinks everything about him

      • No he didn’t. If you listen to the full interview instead of what others said about the interview, you would hear that he was calling the haters that post comments on the social media sites that name, not his fans. Some people really need to settle down a bit and quit getting worked up about things that are really blown WAY out of proportion. Did he use a word he shouldn’t have? Yes. Did he apologize and show true remorse? Yes. Get over it people!

      • Hmm. The haters. On social media? Really? Thank goodness there are none of those in THIS string…

      • I agree with Andrew 100%!!!!! In fact… I couldn’t have said it better. Caleb’s behavior has been very disturbing and there is no way this young man deserves to be Americas Idol. I just don’t understand those who are ignoring his comments. He is a very disturbing person and to me…he seems very unstable. I wouldn’t want to go to a concert of his…he seems as though he has severe anger issues.

    • Don’t Use Jesus’s Name in Vain. and then tell us to forgive and forget.

      • Don’t use capital letters on every word and bad punctuation and tell us not to forgive and forget. It is offensive and painful to copy editors everywhere.

      • Stop judging, that’s Gods job and he is a great guy. Go Caleb and win this thing dude. Love your music.

    • he will be apologizing for a very long time!! Hard lesson to learn when a career is what he wants or the title of American Idol. By the way his first apology he called the public whackos. Those whackos are the fans that picked the songs week on end so he could stay.

  4. And how gay is our reporter… errr… happy… I said ‘happy’, not ‘gay’, which is a synonym of happy.

    Word Police: we have a 623 in progress, in-appropriate language in the blog. Investigate.

    Fashion Police: 438 in progress, reporter with inappropriate shirt on, does not even match his mic. Arrest on sight.

  5. Firstly it is never too late for an apology πŸ˜‰ I hope everyone can forgive him for being “young” and inexperienced in the social spectrum of being or becoming famous. I know I forgive him. I’m not perfect and I am still growing and learning at age 53 πŸ™‚
    and I am positive Caleb will take this as a learning experience and will not make this kind of mistake again…very humbling when you “fall” in the eyes of many. I forgive you Caleb <3

  6. Being an American Idol is not just about being a good singer. The title is also about setting an example. Once some people get a lot of recognition it goes to their heads and they do some pretty weird things. Caleb has not reached his goal yet, but he is already acting like it’s o.k for him to say things that are in poor taste and offensive. His apology–is it just a way to get back votes he may have lost? Caleb may be a good singer, but he still needs a lot of work on dealing with the public and the fans who got him where he is. Word has it that Grumpy Cat did not vote for him!

    • He seems so nonchalant in his apology that I’m unsure how sincere it is.

      Also I was waiting for a better follow up to “I learned a really powerful lesson from that….”

      Maybe to think before I speak? Or to realize that sometimes words can be powerful and offensive even if you don’t mean them to be? etc.

      And instead the lesson he learned was to “live and move on.” -__-

  7. Does anyone remember that this is American Idol? We all need to remember what Idol would say things like he can’t wait for the girls, hookers, and cocaine? The “r” word was bad enough, but he knows better when this is a competition and the public (his fans and social media) are watching/listening. This is a competition for several ages to watch. I’m sure some kid asked there parent what is a hooker and cocaine. Just saying my opinion!! I liked him up until then. I do hope Alex Preston takes the Idol home. He’s humble and a true Idol for the American people. Being in this industry you have to watch every step you take and every word you say!! Your privacy is no longer yours.

    • Vote for the milquetoasty person? Kinda like a few years back when people voted for the nice Christian boy with the guitar instead of the flambouyant, super-creative and exciting performer with the incredible voice who could handle the entire musical spectrum. So, how does Kris Allen’s career stack up against Adam Lambert, anyway? And before anyone dismisses Lambert’s technical skills — like his perfect pitch — go to YouTube, search his name with Brigadoon and listen to perhaps the best “Come To Me, Bend To Me” you will ever hear. But no, he wasn’t a mainstream whitebread Ivory-scrubbed AMERICUN idol.

      • Adam Lambert is awesome and never said nasty things. I would definitely go to a Lambert concert.

    • What kind of irresponsible parent lets their easily offended kid watch youtube videos? They’re not censored, but you want to blame the free speaker when YOU get offended. Here’s a thought..keep your kid off youtube. buncha crybabies.

  8. Sorry Caleb, you cant put the Jenny back in the bottle,,Our opinion about you has changed, I think Jena has this year!!

  9. “Fortunately guys, I’m going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not.” .. A FAKE apology doesn’t take this back. Sorry. Anyway .. it doesn’t really matter at this point as the judges have all but locked up the vote for THE-Jena … but enjoy those hookers and cocaine on your home visit buddy ; ) … Maybe Harry can join you after his cocaine reference last night: “say hello to my little friend” – Tony Mantana ‘Scar Face’ as he had powdered sugar draped all over his nose .. REAL NICE .. BOTH of you make excellent role models .. oh wait. DOH!!!

    • you don’t sound like a really good role model with your petty comments!

    • Free speech baby!! We can express ourselves in any way we choose as long as we’re in this country!! Don’t care if it offends the cry babies.

  10. Not that I know anything about Caleb except what I can see on TV and in interviews, but do you, Ms. Forde, suppose that maybe Caleb has some issues? Maybe he has impulse control issues? Mild Tourette’s? Asperger’s? Hard to tell these days. Maybe he is compensating for years of hateful, shallow, crude abuse directed at him because of his weight. You and Sarah Pailn are not the only ones who have tight shoes, and for you to judge others, as does she, seems quite hypocritical.

    • absolutely Mark Chapman. Even ADHD can produce impulsive speech. ADHD is, in fact, a disability, so what makes the kids with down syndrome more special than any other kid with disabilities? Oh, right, cause Sarah Palin said so.

  11. Caleb is going to win this year’s American Idol and the reason being he can sing, he can perform, and he does both extremely well. Is that not what American Idol is all about? Everything else aside, that is what it is all about!

  12. Had I know about this interview before this week…I would have stopped my votes. In NO WAY does this man deserve a Record Deal much less to be an “American Idol”…. OMG

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