The star faces harsh criticism after writing that he hoped Anne Frank “would have been a belieber” in a visit to her former home.
A British executive at a charity which educates people about Anne Frank has criticised Justin Bieber after he said he hoped the Holocaust victim “would have been a belieber”.
The Anne Frank Trust’s UK executive director, Gillian Walnes MBE, was responding to an entry by the star in the guestbook at Anne’s former home in Amsterdam.
She said on the trust’s Facebook page: “This is a place where Anne spent two years hiding in claustrophobic conditions, where she put down her dreams of making the world a better place.
“Now 70 years later a pop singer is trying to hijack this for his own self-aggrandisement. It says a lot about what his ego is turning into.”
The Canadian singer wrote: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”
Fans – who are known as ‘beliebers’ – defended the 19-year-old, while a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam museum sought to play down any controversy caused by his remarks.
Many Facebook and Twitter users have expressed anger over the comments.
Some pointed out his remarks came shortly before many people marked the anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Anne Frank died.
Museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostart said the museum was happy to receive the singer and did not see anything offensive in his remarks.
Ms Mostart said he had called ahead and was given a guided tour. The Buzzfeed website later reported that a tour guide at the museum had pointed out to him that Anne was a fan of pop culture and may have been a fan of his.
Messages condemning and supporting the multimillion record-selling pop star were being posted on the Anne Frank House Facebook page at a rate of one every couple of minutes on Monday.
Gabriele Gerard wrote: “Justin Bieber is such a stupid little kid with not too much in his brain. I feel ashamed. I love Anne since I was a child and she inspired my whole life. Today I tell my grand-children about her. And I keep them away (as much as I can) from J.B.”
Another poster, Ken Fenton, wrote: “That little Bieber boy should stop his so called entertaining and read some history books. I’ve never seen someone so full of themselves. He is an ignorant person.”
Meanwhile, comedian Ricky Gervais wrote on Twitter: “I agree with Justin Bieber. Anne Frank would’ve loved his stuff. It’s perfect for being played really really quietly so no one can hear it.”
Others commended Bieber for bringing Anne’s story to the attention of a wider audience.
Tyler Shepard wrote: “This might be a good thing. Bieber has forced his fans to google Anne Frank. Regardless of how he did it, he did it.”
Anne, who died at the age of 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, is one of the most well-known and celebrated Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
First published in 1947, her diary has been read by millions across the world and details the deprivations and personal triumphs she and her family experienced in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
The Anne Frank Trust UK is a British organisation set up to “challenge prejudice and reduce hatred by drawing on the power of Anne Frank’s life and diary”.
The controversy is just the latest in a string of incidents that have seen Justin Bieber caught in the midst of a row.
During a concert tour to Britain, dozens of parents were left furious after the pop star turned up over an hour late for his concert at the O2 Arena.