Quai James, a New Yorker who filmed himself berating a Jewish child for his hairstyle has apologised to the Jewish community for his actions in what many in the Jewish community are seeing as a heartfelt and sincere apology.

“I just want to sincerely apologize to that young boy and his family,” James said in the video. “I never meant for anybody to get hurt, or for this to be taken the wrong way. It was just a joke, and I’m sorry, like I’m truly sorry. I think about it every day now.”

“I don’t want this to be like a race thing, I have nothing against Jewish people,” he said. “I have friends that are Jewish, my babysitter growing up was Jewish… that was in regards to the haircut only, that was my opinion on the haircut…. I have nothing against them, trust me. They have been through too much, too much – we’ve been through as much as they’ve been through, they’ve been through worse.”

The original video, he said, was just a failed attempt at humor.

“That was just me being really immature. That was one of the most immature videos I probably every recorded,” he said. “It’s making me seem like somebody I’m not – I’m not that type of person, I’m not disrespectful…. It’s my fault that I didn’t think of this while I was doing it, before I even did it – I should have been more considerate.”

James said the entire experience was a big wake-up call. “It was a big mistake,” he said. “I allow social media to turn me into a person I’m not.”

Most Twitter users saw his contrition as genuine and thanked him for his understanding.

“Mr. James, you are what we would call a mentsch,” tweeted New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger. “You accepted, and you’ve repented. Hindsight is always 20/20. Glad you were able to realize that. Thank you for your words; they are truly meaningful. Anytime you want to walk the streets of my neighborhood with me, I’m happy to.”

Quai James opted to apologise for his actions after a video he made, in which he mocks a Jewish child’s haircut went viral over the weekend.

The video features an unseen male, Quai James, talking from behind the camera to a  Jewish boy he met on the street in New York.

“I’d be crying if I looked like that too bro,” James says to the little boy. “That’s ****** up what they be doing to you.”

James is referring to the child’s hair which is closely shaved except for his long sidelocks, in keeping with Jewish Hassidic tradition.

The boy, who appears to be about three or four years old, stands silently staring wide-eyed at the man while he continues talking.

“You probably had the full wash and set – they should be fired if they ain’t cut your ****,” he added. “**** it though bro, it’s your life.”

Quai James first posted the video on Facebook on Saturday. The video was later uploaded to Twitter by user @_LoveMeSomeJess on Sunday.

The video was viewed more than 1 million times and liked more than 100,000 times on Facebook before action was taken, whereas the video was retweeted on Twitter more than 40,000 times before it was taken off. Twitter deleted the video on Sunday evening whilst Facebook deleted the video on Monday morning.

The video was picked up by the media and there was a backlash from the Jewish community against Quai James. Now, to his credit, James has owned up and apologised, fully acknowledging his mistakes.

Warning: The video below contains strong language.