Authorities have charged a Scottish man with a hate crime for filming his girlfriend’s dog responding to Nazi phrases. Although the video was uploaded to YouTube in 2016 – where the pug mimics a Nazi salute at every racist command – the charges were recently handed down. Mark Meechan was also fined 800 pounds ($1,200).
The comedian and video blogger who goes by the stage name Count Dankula, said the video was solely meant as a joke. His YouTube channel offers the description: “offensive social commentary in an accent you won’t understand.” Meechan, 30, was convicted last month for the controversial footage.
According to Meechan, the “joke” was meant to highlight the animal’s reaction to something derogatory. “It’s the juxtaposition of having an adorable animal react to something vulgar that was the entire point of the joke,” he said per the Associated Press.
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll said the video “contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material.” A judge at Scotland’s Airdrie Sheriff Court echoes these sentiments, explaining that while freedom of speech is important it must be policed in democratic countries. “In all modern democratic countries the law necessarily places some limits on that right,” the judge affirmed.
Amid the controversy, there are still people who support Meechan.