AMSTERDAM (CBSNewYork/AP) — Justin Bieber drew harsh consternation this weekend, after leaving a message in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands hoping that the diarist and Holocaust victim would have been a “Belieber.”
The Anne Frank House reported on its own Facebook page Saturday that Bieber had visited the museum the night before, and that “fans were waiting outside to see a glimpse of him.” Without offering any judgment, the museum quoted the message he left in the guestbook.
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber,” Bieber wrote.
“Belieber” is what Bieber fans call themselves.
The museum’s Facebook post quickly drew hundreds of comments castigating Bieber for the remark.
“She would’ve been a WHAT?” one man wrote. “That little idiot is way too full of himself. She’s an important historical figure so show some respect.”
“Tacky, tacky, tacky. It’s not all about you, kiddo,” another wrote. “Imagine even THINKING that, in SUCH a place. Hang your head in shame, you wouldn’t have survived ONE DAY of what Anne Frank endured, you priveliged twit.”
Tweets mocking Bieber and imagining that he had visited the museum and walked away thinking only of himself also began circulating Sunday.
But some of Bieber’s 37 million followers also Tweeted messages of support. Others in his fan base – which is heavily weighted toward young girls – tweeted that they didn’t even know who Anne Frank was.
The Anne Frank House Press Office also responded to the controversy on its own, in a statement that was tweeted by BBC correspondent Anna Holligan.
“He’s 19, it’s a strange life he’s living, it wasn’t very sensible but he didn’t mean bad,” the museum press office said in the tweet. “He was very interested in Anne Frank.”
Anne Frank hid with her family in a small apartment above a warehouse during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Her family was caught and deported, and Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
The diary she kept in hiding was recovered and published after the war, and has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust. She was 13 years old when she began writing the diary in 1942.
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