Scottish YouTuber Mark Meechan AKA “Count Dankula” was fined $1,115 after posting a video showing a pug dog raise his paw while watching a video of Hitler speak at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
The dog “salutes” when Hitler shouts “Sieg Heil!” In the background, you can hear Meechan say, “Who’s a good wee Nazi?” The video has been watched more than three million times since it was uploaded in April 2016.
“The video was originally a prank” intended to piss off his girlfriend, says Meechan in a follow-up video. “She keeps ranting and raving about how cute and adorable” her dog is and how “he is the cutest thing ever.”
Meechan decided to turn the pug into “the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi.” He did this “just for the juxtaposition of a cute pug dog being compared to one of the worst things ever, which is a Nazi.”
In March, a court found Meechan guilty of committing a hate crime and fined him 800 pounds (the equivalent of $1,115 dollars).
“The fact that you claim in the video, and elsewhere, that the video was intended only to annoy your girlfriend and as a joke and that you did not intend to be racist is of little assistance to you,” said Sheriff Derek O’Carroll during the sentencing. “A racist joke or a grossly offensive video does not lose its racist or grossly offensive quality merely because the maker asserts he only wanted to get a laugh.”
Meechan says he can understand why people would be concerned if he uploaded a video of himself saying “Sieg Heil” to the dog without context, “but the important thing was, I gave context as to why I was saying the phrase.” Meechan does not regret making the video and says his sentencing “highlighted a very very important problem in our country.”
Meechan has support from Tommy Robinson, who plans to appeal the sentencing. Robinson, the former leader of a far-right protest movement called “English Defense League,” says Meechan’s sentence is a “really dangerous precedent to set” in terms of free speech.
In the meantime, Meechan says he will “continue doing what I’m doing” and continue “fighting for free speech in the UK.”
Editor’s note: We take for granted our right to freedom of speechin America its part of our heritage. But most countries, even the first world industrialized nations do not have this as a right. While that fact may be more convenient to their governments, it leaves the door open to censorship and tyranny.