The airline was faced with a potential selection headache after legions of international fans propelled the controversial Mayhem guitarist to the summit of a list of candidates for the Oslo region.
Seeking a tailfin hero of whom Norwegians could be proud, the airline had allowed voters to nominate their own favourite personalities. Norwegian launched the campaign to celebrate its first ten years in the air.
A jury appointed by the airline has now presented its Oslo shortlist after sifting through the nominees with the highest number of votes. But Aarseth never made it to the final list of candidates after his family spared Norwegian’s blushes by requesting that he be taken out of the reckoning. The family declined to give a reason, newspaper Dagbladet reports.
“Naturally we respect their wishes,” Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told the newspaper.
A leading figure in a black metal scene notorious in the 1990s for church burnings and vicious in-fighting, Aarseth died in 1993 at the age of 25 after being stabbed 23 times by his erstwhile understudy and bandmate Varg Vikernes.
Known also as Euronymous, Aarseth had previously earned notoriety for allegedly taking photos of Mayhem member Per “Dead” Ohlin immediately after his gory suicide in 1991, before making necklaces from pieces of the ex-vocalist’s skull.
Aarseth wasn’t the only nominee to pose a problem for Norwegian. The airline announced on Monday that it had taken the deceased military commander Trond Bolle out of contention for security reasons.
Rewarded posthumously with the prestigious War Cross, Bolle was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2010.
Norwegian’s commercial director Daniel Skjeldam explained the decision in a statement.
“Norwegian currently has flights to a number of areas where the war in Afghanistan is considered controversial.
“This makes it a risk, since it could be considered provocative if were to have the war hero Trond Bolle on the tailfin.
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“This is a risk we just can’t take. We know that many people will be disappointed but we hope people will understand that we always put flight security first,” said Skjeldam.
The Oslo jury has whittled its selection down to five final candidates: influential 19th century revivalist minister Hans Nielsen Hauge, marathon runner Grete Waitz, actress Wenche Foss, impressionist painter Johan Fredrik «Frits» Thaulow, and popular Romany preacher Ludvig Walentin Karlsen.
The finalists for the Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger regions will be presented on Tuesday.