Day three of Justin Bieber’s public pounding over a guestbook note he wrote at the Anne Frank House museum on Friday and, in addition to the shadowboxing pictures — there are two new developments.
Firstly, CNN reports that a source close to Bieber and his representatives has confirmed that neither will be making an official statement about the row.
Secondly, while strictly speaking this happened yesterday, Anne Frank House’s press office have added to their previous defense of Bieber with some stinging words to the media about the ongoing flap.
In a statement obtained by E! News, the Anne Frank House reiterated that they were not offended by Bieber’s note, adding:
“We’d like to thank Justin for his continued display …. of positive, peaceful attitudes, and ask him and all others to help preserve the life, ideals and legacy of Anne Frank by spreading her universal message of tolerance and social justice for all.”
The museum also said it hoped Bieber would support the Anne Frank Sapling Project, which is an effort to plant saplings from the horse chestnut tree that represented freedom to Frank, her family and the Van Pels while they hid from the Nazis.
“The remaining nine saplings are scheduled for planting in her [Frank’s] name, voice and spirit across the US over the coming year. That the major media overlooked these initial plantings and instead focused on [Bieber’s] harmless, innocent comments perhaps indicate that many bloggers, [editors], individuals and organizations have forgotten that tolerance for all lies at the very heart of Anne’s message.”
Certainly, it’s a significant step up even from the spirited defense of Bieber by two museum spokeswomen — Maatje Mostart and Annemarie Bekker — who said the singer’s comments were “quite innocent” and commended the teen star for visiting the museum in the first place.
Anne Marie Frank — a Jewish girl, then 13 — her family and the Van Pels hid from the Nazis between July 1942- August 4, 1944. After discovery, the group were arrested and deported. Anne died just under a year later of Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. However, the diaries she wrote while in hiding live on and continue to humanize the statistics behind the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, vigorous defenses of Bieber’s teenage but well meaning guestbook comment are mounting. Of these, Lance Dickie at the Seattle Times, notably writes:
“Frank’s poignant diary connects across generations … The moment was not lost on the 19-year-old, who wrote in a guestbook: ‘Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.'”
Dickie called it: “A respectful, innocent recognition that the young girl did not have a chance to enjoy the pleasures and diversions of adolescence, including life as a fan, in her own time. Indeed, a humble wish she might have found him worthy.”
He went on to say: “Bieber hit exactly the right, gracious note in his comments. Inexplicably the twits and tweets of social media have mocked and condemned him. The reaction has confounded his museum hosts, and others who have read her diary, and know her fondness for movie stars.”
Encouragingly, according to statistics at groke.se, Google searches for Frank roughly quadrupled on Sunday, while her Wikipedia biography page was the sixth most viewed English language article on Monday.
The Bieber-Frank debate is likely to rage for a while longer. But, in light of the museum’s, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman and other voices’ agreement that the teen singer gave no offence, perhaps the pertinent question is: Why do so many continue to want to find it?
For more information about Anne Frank click here.