After a highly publicized appearance at Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House, the site where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis from 1942 to 1944, an “inspired” Justin Bieber left some deep thoughts in the museum’s guestbook.
Posting on Facebook, Anne Frank House wrote: “Yesterday night Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank House, together with his friends and guards. Fans were waiting outside to see a glimpse of him. He stayed more than an hour in the museum.
According to the Anne Frank House’s Facebook page, the 19-year-old singer –who is now on the European leg of his Believe tour and performed in the nearby Dutch city of Arnhem in the Netherlands on Saturday night – left a message in the museum’s guestbook, writing:
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” the teen idol wrote after a surprise visit to the historic shrine in Amsterdam.
The note, posted on the Facebook page of the museum at Anne Frank’s home Saturday, prompted widespread outrage from commenters who called his message “tasteless” and “immature.”
“Way to turn an inspiring moment into something about yourself,” one person wrote, echoing the vast majority of more than 700 commenters.
One Facebook commenter wrote, “Glad he went, but, the last sentence is VERY self serving. He missed the lessons of Anne totally,” while another added, “How does he manage to think about his own fame and success attending a historical place of such tragedy and injustice?”
Twitter exploded after the news, as well, with fans and non-followers alike sharing their opinions on Bieber’s remarks.
The museum, in the meantime, is not focusing on the controversy sparked by the Canadian pop sensation, said Maatje Mostart, a museum spokeswoman. Instead, she hopes Bieber fans would be inspired to learn more about Anne Frank and her struggles.
“We think that what’s special is that a 19-year-old comes to the Anne Frank House and spends an hour visiting on a Friday night,” museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostart told AFP amid growing criticism of the pop star’s perceived selfishness.
“He was very interested in (Anne Frank’s) story,” Mostart said.
“It’s great that he’s been here, and we hope a lot of his fans will want to read about Anne Frank. We really think it’s great that a 19-year-old person wants to know who Anne Frank was and know more about her,” Mostart added.
Bieber has yet to respond to the incident. During his tour of the Netherlands so far, he’s complained about his bowels and taken a moment to let his followers know he’s “resting up.”
According to the Independent, Anne Frank House has previously posted other, less incendiary messages left by celebrities in its guestbook. Earlier this year, Kelly Osbourne allegedly wrote: “Anne, thank you for telling your story and showing the world what really happened. You changed the world. Thank you for your bravery.”
Whoopi Goldberg has also visited the museum. She said she was “so happy to return to the place of peace”.
Anne Frank’s diary is a moving account of her two years in hiding from the Nazis with her family in a secret annexe that is today a popular museum in central Amsterdam.
She died in 1945 aged 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany.