Yes, I know, it sounds like an Onion headline, but 19-year-old pop star Justin Bieber really told the world – via an entry in the guest book at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam – that he hopes the teen famous for hiding in the attic there with her family in an attempt to escape death during the holocaust would have been a fan.
Frank and her family were discovered by Nazi soldiers in August 1944 and she died “of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945,” notes CNN. The news outlet reports that Bieber “stopped by the Anne Frank House between his concert in Antwerp, Belgium, and a Saturday performance in Arnhem, Netherlands. He told fans on Twitter it was a ‘chill day.’”
The Anne Frank House released the contents of Bieber’s guest book signing on their Facebook page. He wrote: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Commenters have taken pains to point out the insensitivity and narcissism in Bieber’s comment, but the gaffe was clearly more clueless than intentionally self-serving. After all, Bieber has been famous since he himself was a young teen, and he has no idea what life outside his bubble is like. The fact that he thought to learn about the holocaust while on a concert tour speaks to some goodness in him. And besides, if Anne were a teen today, it may very well be that instead of having photos of Judy Garland on her wall, she’d be like baby, baby, baby, oh. It turns out, Bieber isn’t the first to imagine what Frank’s life would be like as a teen in the modern era. Comedian Jamie Lee has a very funny web series wherein she imagines Frank trapped with her family in today’s world, but instead of journaling she vlogs. Here’s episode four of Anne, Frankly: