A Scottish video blogger taught his girlfriend’s dog how to do the Nazi salute, then posted a video of the act on YouTube. On Monday, a judge fined him $1,200 for committing a hate crime.
Mark Meechan, 30, was hardly contrite. He vowed to appeal the fine and “keep fighting the good fight.”
“There has been a huge miscarriage of justice,” Meechan said after he was convicted last month. “I think it is a very, very dark day in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Meechan videotaped his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, raising his paw whenever he hears the phrase “Sieg Heil” while watching a speech by Adolf Hitler. Meechan also repeated the phrase several times and said “gas the Jews” on the tape.
The 2-year-old video has been viewed more than 3 million times and was still available online as of Monday.
WARNING: The video is disturbing.
Meechan insisted that he taught the trick to the dog to annoy his girlfriend and apologized on YouTube soon after he posted the clip.
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, the judge in the case at Scotland’s Airdrie Sheriff Court, said the video was “grossly offensive” and contained “menacing” anti-Semitic and racist messages.
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,” O’Carroll said.
Meechan, who is known on YouTube as Count Dankula, said that what he did was acceptable because he “put it in context.” His intent was to juxtapose a cute pug with the “least cute thing I could think of — which is a Nazi.”
Tommy Robinson, former leader of the controversial far-right English Defence League, was among a group of protesters who defended Meechan when his fine was imposed. Robinson posted an interview with Meechan on YouTube after the conviction.
British comedian Ricky Gervais also defended Meechan on Twitter: