In a case of “what took you so long?,” online auction giant eBay has finally banned the sale of Burzum merchandise. Burzum is, for those unaware, the one-man, Norwegian, ambient, black metal band masterminded by convicted murderer and self-proclaimed racist Varg Vikernes.
Vikernes was convicted in 1994 of murdering his Mayhem bandmate Øystein ‘Euronymous’ Aarseth by stabbing the guitarist 23 times reportedly over a contract dispute. Despite Vikernes’ convoluted claims of self defense, he was sentenced to 21 years in prison (the maximum sentence in Norway) and served 15 years before being paroled in 2009. (Watch Varg lay out his story of self defense, in his own words, in the video here below.)
After his parole, Varg moved his family to France and proceeded to spew his anti-semitic, xenophobic, and generally hateful rhetoric via his online blog. The French government did not take kindly and charged Vikernes with inciting racial hatred and exalting war crimes. Once again, despite his claims that someone else had written the offending blog, Vikernes was convicted and given a slap on the wrist in the form of six months of probation and a fine of $10,000.
Now, this week comes the news that an unnamed individual, attempting to sell Burzum merchandise on eBay, was met with the following message:
I and many metalheads that I associate with have long wondered how it is that this guy is walking around free to peddle his wares and voicing his warped world views with seemingly little repercussions. It seems that maybe the people are starting to take notice that this is not an individual you would want associated with your brand. Let’s hope other retailers follow suit. The only downside is that “a history of violence” is a bit of a vague categorization. Let’s hope that that doesn’t become a slippery slope for other more innocuous metal artists.