Had Anne Frank been a modern-day teen -- instead of a tragic Jewish figure in hiding during the Holocaust -- would she have been a Belieber? And is it appropriate for Justin Bieber to hold out that hope?
The teen pop sensation, on world tour, was moved by his visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, saying in the guest book that it was “truly inspiring."
Things went south from there, however, as he called Frank, who died of typhus while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, a “great girl” and added “hopefully she would have been a Belieber,” referring to the nickname for his fans.
Social media, predictably, exploded. U.K. site Sugarscape’s tweet may have summed it up best: “Justin Bieber hopes Anne Frank would have been a Belieber. The world smacks their hands to their foreheads.”
Bieber already had been stirring things up in Europe. As Ministry of Gossip reported earlier this month, five schools in Norway moved their midterm exams to make way for Bieber’s concert, saying it “was a battle that we could not win." They bowed their heads to the inevitable, even though attending the shows meant that students with tickets would have to skip school to attend.
In response, Bieber tweeted “love this” to his 37 million followers. It’s just another day in the life of a teen pop star who creates a tizzy -- whether he goes shirtless through a Polish airport or is accused of spitting on his neighbor.
But are we being too hard on Justin?
As Rolling Stone magazine’s Simon Vozick-Levinson told ABC News, Anne Frank was a “regular teenage girl,” a fan of the “pop stars of her day." Hey! She might have been a Belieber! And perhaps Bieber, as the 19-year-old center of worldwide teen-girl adulation, can be excused for not realizing he shouldn’t actually write that down.
Bieber hasn’t broached the topic on Twitter. Saturday he tweeted “Resting up,” and Monday morning he said that he missed his brother and sister -- Justin, Jazmyn and Jaxon share the same dad, Jeremy Bieber. Here’s betting the preschoolers have never even heard of Anne Frank.
As for the Anne Frank House, representatives are grateful for Bieber’s visit. The message on the museum’s Facebook page:
“The Anne Frank House was pleased to welcome Justin Bieber to the Anne Frank house last Friday. We think it is very positive that he took the time and effort to visit our museum. 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.”