Buenos Aires - Justin Bieber asked his Argentine fans to forgive him after they expressed outrage that he mishandled the Argentine flag onstage.
The pop idol tweeted a series of messages and apologised yesterday after fans said the way he treated the flag at his Buenos Aires gig shows he has no respect for his fans or the country.
It was the latest scandal to emerge from his troubled South American tour.
Only on Sunday, he was booed as he left the stage during another Buenos Aires performance, blaming food poisoning for walking off.
Videos from last Saturday's concert show how Bieber, 19, reacted when fans tossed two Argentine flags onto the stage.
Most musicians on world tours usually hold up the flags in appreciation of their fans.
Not Bieber. The videos show him treating the flags like dirty rags, using his shoes and then a microphone stand to sweep them off the stage, reported the Associated Press.
An Argentine fan was reported as commenting on a YouTube video of the incident: "I hope he never comes back to my country after this. So disrespectful."
Another expressed outrage, saying: "Oh my! How disgusting. He's an ignorant brat and shouldn't do that in front of his loyal fans."
On Thursday, Bieber said he thought the flags were clothes. On Twitter, he said: "i saw a bra and thought... it was a shirt.
"Im being told by my team it was a shirt but even if it was a flag I would never do anything to disrespect Argentina... or the people or Argentina or the fans.
"Im so sorry for anyone who took my actions the wrong way and I hope you can forgive this mistake."
He said he loves Argentina and "would never do anything to disrespect my fans".
He returned to Los Angeles on Wednesday, and his manager Scooter Braun tweeted that Bieber will return to Argentina.
He might want to think carefully about that: Insulting Argentina's flag is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.
Next page: Bieber's unfortunate events