A YouTuber from Scotland who filmed his girlfriend’s dog raising a paw in a "Nazi salute" for a laugh, has been convicted of a hate crime. His video was viewed more than three million times after it was uploaded two years ago.
Mark Meechan, also known as Count Dankula on his comedy page, recorded the pug named Buddha, lifting its paw when told “Sieg Heil” for laughs he said, but was arrested following complaints about the video.
Ephraim Borowski, of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, told the court this week that the video was grossly offensive.
Meechan, 30, from Lanarkshire, said he had made the video to troll his girlfriend, but the judge dismissed his explanation and found him guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court of a charge under the Communications Act of 2003 for posting a video that was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature”.
Buddha’s owner testified that it was an example of Meechan’s particular sense of humour. She had noted earlier that “[Buddha] will lift his paw to virtually anything if he gets a treat for it” and said Meechan was rather making fun of that and that it was not about minorities.
Speaking outside the court this week, Meechan told Breitbart: “I’ve not been able to get a job, there have been threats against my life… threats by Antifa, far-left radicals.”
He added: “They’ve tried to portray me as a racist and a Nazi. Apparently context doesn’t matter anymore.” Meechan said the police and mainstream media had colluded before his arrest, by allowing journalists to camp outside his home and film him being handcuffed and led away by law enforcement.
Meechan told the London Evening Standard: “There has been a huge miscarriage of justice. I think it is a very, very dark day in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
“One of the primary things that must be considered in cases like this is context and intent and today context and intent were completely disregarded.
“For the system to disregard such things means that your actions no longer matter – they decide what your context and intent is.
“For any comedians making jokes in Britain, I’d be very, very worried about your future because – the context and intent – apparently they don’t matter anymore.”
In court, Meechan’s lawyer Ross Brown argued that trolling was a matter of taste. “Others may be able to see the comedic or satirical element to it.”
But the judge said he believed Meechan posted the video online to increase viewer traffic, also views to his other material, something which he should not have done.
Some YouTubers however typically make their entire livelihood producing content. For every thousand impressions of an advertisement that is played per video, a Youtuber will get paid a certain amount of money.
“The accused is quite obviously an intelligent and articulate man. The accused knew that the material was offensive and knew why it was offensive. Despite that the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people.”
In the video, the dog is also filmed watching a rally led by Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games.