Amsterdam’s Anne Frank museum on Monday defended teen idol Justin Bieber amid a furor over his comments that he hoped the Jewish teen who died in a Nazi camp would have been a fan.
“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.
Canadian heartthrob Bieber visited the museum-house, where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis, and wrote in the guestbook: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
A belieber is a term used to describe one of the celebrity’s fanatical fans, most of whom are teen or pre-teen girls.
“He could be doing other things in Amsterdam, he was very interested,” said Mostart.
“That’s more important than the commotion that we’re now seeing. That’s the positive side and we want to leave it at that.”
Bieber’s remarks have provoked furious responses on Facebook, where the museum announced the news, with users attacking Bieber’s perceived ignorance.
Esther Voet, director of the Netherlands’ Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), said that Bieber’s comments were “stupid and shortsighted.”
“It shows you that superstars don’t always have a stellar IQ,” she told AFP.
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.
Bieber is on a European tour and played in the Dutch city of Arnhem on Saturday.