A Justin Bieber visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is the absolute last place you would expect controversy to be born — but somehow, some way, the 19-year-old pop star continues to pull off the impossible.
On Saturday the museum, located within the same home where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis, posted an update to Facebook that Bieber had visited the site after a concert in Arnhem. He wrote in a guestbook: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."
Comments immediately started streaming in from all over, calling the last part of Bieber's comment as selfish and disrespectful.
"Isn’t it wonderful that all of history happened so that it could culminate in the ultimate perfection of Justin Bieber?" wrote the Washington Post's Alexandra Petri in a particularly scathing critique. "When Justin Bieber heard about the Holocaust, he shuddered — those kids could have followed him on Twitter! When Justin Bieber read about slavery, he sighed a heavy sigh for the millions of people, trapped in the inhumane condition of being born too soon ever to see the music video for 'U Smile.' ”
She ends with: "If I were cruel I would say that the difference between Anne Frank and Justin Bieber is that we wish Anne Frank had lived past 16, because she had real talent."
Museum officials, however, were happy to welcome Bieber, and despite the controversial note, they hope his visit inspires millions more to learn about Anne Frank and the holocaust.
"We think it is very positive that he took the time and effort to visit our museum," officials wrote on Facebook. "He was very interested in the story of Anne Frank and stayed for over an hour. We hope that his visit will inspire his fans to learn more about her life and hopefully read the diary."
Added Annemarie Bekker, a spokeswoman for the Anne Frank House, to Reuters: “He’s a 19-year-old boy taking the effort to come and see the museum,” she said, “and we’d like to point that out, and I think it’s quite innocent what he put down.”