Would Anne Frank have been a "Belieber"?
Justin Bieber said he hoped so, and on Sunday the 19-year-old Canadian pop star was drawing fire for the comments he wrote in a guestbook at the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam.
He said he hoped the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp "would have been a Belieber" – one of his millions of young fans -- if history were different.
Museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostart confirmed to the Associated Press that Bieber visited Friday evening for a guided tour, and said that neither she nor the museum saw anything offensive in his remarks.
But Bieber's message led to criticism from some quarters, as a Facebook response insulting him received more than 1,000 "likes." On Twitter, where the pop star has 37 million followers, posts mocked Bieber and called him self-centered and insensitive. There were notes of support from followers, too, who saw his remarks as well-intentioned. Since many are very young girls, there were a number of tweets who wondered who Anne Frank was.
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Bieber's whole note read: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber."
A call to his publicist was not immediately returned Sunday.
Anne Frank hid with her family in a small apartment above a warehouse during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Her family was caught and deported, and Anne died of typhus in 1945. The diary she kept while in hiding was recovered and published after the war, and has become the most widely read document to emerge from the Holocaust.
Bieber's European tour has had some bumps. He had to leave a monkey in quarantine after landing in Germany without the necessary papers for the animal. Before that, at a show in London, he fainted backstage, was taken to a hospital.
He's scheduled to perform Sunday through Tuesday nights in Oslo, Norway.