A Scottish YouTuber who published a video of a pug he trained to emulate the Nazi salute has been found guilty of committing a full-on hate crime.

Mark Meechan, 30, published a video to his Count Dankula channel in 2016 showing his girlfriend’s dog lifting its front right leg in response to repeated verbal statements like “Sieg Heil” and “gas the Jews.”

The video, which has been viewed more than 3 million times, was reported to authorities. Meechan was then charged under the UK’s Communications Act of 2003.

Dismissing the argument that he only uploaded the video as a joke to annoy his girlfriend, Sherriff Derek O’Carroll deemed the clip was indeed motivated by racial prejudice and conveyed an anti-Semitic message.

Sheriff O’Carroll characterised the clip as “grossly offensive,” and said that while the Airdrie Sheriff Court took freedom of speech into consideration “the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility.”

He added “the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people.”

Speaking outside court, Meechan called the decision a “huge miscarriage of justice” and “a very, very dark day for freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.” 

The case has been branded by some as an attack on free speech. Comedian Ricky Gervais has commented on the verdict, taking to Twitter to say anyone who supports the ruling inherently disagrees with free speech.

Meechan could face prison time when he is sentenced on April 23.

Meanwhile, Australia has its own free speech concerns to worry about.

Source: BBC
Image: Count Dankula / YouTube