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Why Justin Bieber’s visit to Anne Frank House has people rolling their eyes

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage during a concert in Zurich, Switzerland Friday, March 22, 2013.

Walter Bieri/AP

Pop music's enfant terrible continues his transgressions against polite society, this time impudently associating himself with a famous Jewish victim of the Holocaust.

According to an entry posted on the Facebook page of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Justin Bieber and his entourage visited the museum for an hour Saturday. Upon leaving, the Baby singer signed the guestbook: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber" _  the nickname embraced by his fans.

The comment sparked outrage on Facebook, with many accusing the 19-year-old crooner of being disrespectful and ignorant. Belgian Anastasia Finnigan-De Graeve captured a common reaction: "Glad he went, but the last sentence is VERY self serving. He missed the lessons of Anne totally."

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Anne Frank was a diary-keeping Jewish teen who hid in an attic during the German occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. She died in 1945 while a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.

"That little idiot is way too full of himself. She's an important historical figure, so show some respect," one commenter wrote after the Anne Frank gaffe.

"What a immature and disgusting thing to write in her book!" read another message.

Others came to Bieber's defence, saying he should be commended for trying to learn about Ms. Frank and arguing that he likely meant to say he would be proud to count her among his supporters.

A source from Bieber's camp said the young star meant "that it would have been an honour if she had been a fan" and that the visit was a positive, educational experience.

Bieber has drawn criticism recently for what some see as increasingly aberrant behaviour.

During his current European tour, the young star raised eyebrows by travelling light through a Polish airport, not bothering to wear a shirt as he passed through a security checkpoint. He also smuggled his baby monkey, "Mally," onto a transatlantic flight to Munich. The pet, lacking proper papers, was seized by German customs.

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Bieber's shenanigans of late have friends and family concerned.

"Him being 19, you know, I've just gotta let go a little and let him make some of his own decisions," the singer's mother, Pattie Mallette, recently told Access Hollywood Live. "He's growing up. He's 19. He's not my baby."

Also in his corner is bad-boy singer Chris Brown, who earlier this month told an American radio show that he understood and empathized with Bieber's situation. "Being young, having a limitless amount of income to do whatever you want, you have nobody who's going to say, 'Hey bro, you look whack right now.'"

Brown, who in 2009 pleaded guilty to felony assault of the singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna, added, "I pray for him, I pray for myself. I think we're both great artists … he's like a baby Elvis."

With files from The Canadian Press

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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