When most musicians hit the road, they barely have time to make it from their hotel to interviews to the venue for that night’s show. But on Saturday, Justin Bieber took sometime out of his busy schedule to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber,” Justin wrote in the guestbook of the museum dedicated to the teenage Holocaust victim.
The Belieber comment immediately drew fire from many who saw it as self-centered and crass, but amid those cries of insensitivity came a vote of support from the most unlikely defender: Howard Stern. On his Monday morning (April 15) satellite radio show, Stern, who is typically harsh on Bieber, gave the singer props for being the rare musician who takes time out of his day to do something cultural while on the road.
“They made a big deal … first of all, I’m impressed that a young man in that position would even go to the Anne Frank house,” said Stern. “Most of these guys who are having that kind of success, they’re busy with the girls and the whole thing. They don’t even bother to go visit anything of substance. He’s a kid, so he writes, ‘Gee, I wonder if she would have been a Belieber?’ I don’t see that as any big deal. People are looking to carry on and pick this kid apart.”
In addition to the satellite radio talker, representatives for the Anne Frank House also praised Bieber on Monday for his visit to the museum.
“The Anne Frank House was pleased to welcome Justin Bieber to the Anne Frank House last Friday,” read the Facebook post. “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.”
A few commenters on the Frank House Facebook page also supported Bieber, including Phyllis White. “At least he went, so many others (in his place) do not. At least he took the time and made the effort to be educated. He probably saw the pictures of movie stars Anne had glued to the wall which is why he wrote that, not meaning any harm. Having been to the Anne Frank House five times that is something that I always find touching … she was a normal teenager in many ways … Let’s cut him some slack and look at this from a positive side. Hopefully his visit will inspire more visiting teenagers from other countries and celebs too, to visit the Anne Frank House.
Another poster, Heather Mirman, agreed, using Frank’s most famous quote to defend Bieber. “‘Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart,’ — Anne Frank. I think before everyone goes bashing Justin Bieber we should take a moment to think about these words and why Anne said them,” she wrote. “I don’t think what Justin was trying to say was in any way him being self-involved or narcissistic. How he related Anne was to what he knows about teenage girls in real life, his Beliebers.”