A head-scratching note that Justin Bieber left in the guestbook of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam last week has resulted in a wave of Internet backlash. The pop star wrote that he hoped that the teenage Holocaust victim “would have been a belieber,” a message that prompted thousands of harsh comments when the museum posted it on their Facebook page.
Bieber’s full guestbook entry reads: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
The message has largely been derided as narcissistic and self-serving, a sentiment that some of Bieber’s 37 million Twitter followers have sought to counter with messages of support. Notably, many of his fans have said they didn’t know who Anne Frank was, which has some commentators hoping the whole incident will mean increased expsoure for Frank and The Diary of a Young Girl, her chronicle of two years spent hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam during World War II. Comedian Rob Delaney sums up that argument: “Silver lining?” he tweeted, “Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most remarkable documents in this world. Maybe more youngsters will read it? Please do.”
The Anne Frank House has backed Bieber’s visit and posted a grateful response on their 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. . . . We hope that his visit will inspire his fans to learn more about her life and hopefully read the diary.”
Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, who had a public and rather hilarious battle-of-the-wits against some angry beliebers back in February via Twitter, has weighed in on Bieber’s Anne Frank note with a tweet earlier today – which happens to be his 33rd birthday. In his typical straight-faced humor, Carney tweeted “If I could make one birthday wish it would be that all children who were killed at death camps could hear . :(“
If Bieber’s note helps to expose young people to Frank’s story – hailed as one of the most inspirational accounts of bravery from the Holocaust and a powerful, timeless reminder of the costs of human hatred – it doesn’t change the fact that his message comes off as self-involved and, in hindsight, as confusing as it is egotistic. The comedy community, naturally, offers some of the most hilarious responses: a roundup of the reaction to Bieber’s latest debacle wouldn’t be complete without a rundown of some of the best. Read on for our list some of the top tweets.
I agree with Justin Bieber. Anne Frank would’ve loved his stuff.It’s perfect for being played really really quietly so no one can hear it.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 14, 2013
Justin Bieber said he hoped Anne Frank would have been a fan. I really want to kill myself.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) April 15, 2013
“Anne was dope. Hopefully she would have gone to the window to the wall” –Lil Jon re: Anne Frank
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) April 14, 2013
“Who’s this Anne Frank & why is he visiting her HOUSE? Are they dating?! OMG!” -93% of beliebers
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) April 14, 2013
I’m out of the country & the news seems lame guys. Accidental Racist? Bieber’s Anne Frank thing? Kobe’s Achilles heel is compelling I guess
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) April 15, 2013
Who are Anne Frank and Justin Bieber?
— Har Mar Superstar (@HarMarSuperstar) April 14, 2013
I think President John Tyler would’ve been a Belieber.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) April 15, 2013