Scots Comedian on Conviction for ‘Offensive’ Pug Joke: ‘A Very, Very Dark Day in Regards to Freedom of Speech’

Scottish comedian Mark Meechan — better known as ‘Count Dankula’ — has spoken out after his conviction for causing “gross offence” by posting a video of his girlfriend’s pug performing tricks.

The YouTube comic, whose channel has close to 130,000 subscribers, filmed the pug named Buddha watching recordings of Adolf Hitler, lifting his paw on hearing the command ‘Sieg Heil’, and responding to a phrase the Scottish courts deemed “grossly offensive” — and therefore illegal under hate speech laws.

Meechan, who says at the beginning of the offending video that its goal is to annoy his girlfriend by turning her pug into “the least cute thing that I could think of, which is a Nazi”, has always maintained that he is not a racist, and that the Nazis are in fact that a butt of the joke.

It does seem unlikely that Hitler’s Reich would have appreciated Meechan’s video, as the Nazi government did in fact pursue a lengthy investigation into a Finnish man who trained his dog to react to the command ‘Hitler’ by raising his paw, feeling it made a mockery of their leader.

“We are considering the route of appeal, because there’s been a huge miscarriage of justice. I think it is a very, very dark day in regards to freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” Meechan told reporters after Sheriff Derek O’Carroll convicted him.

“The thing that was most worrying is that one of the primary things in any action that is to be considered is things like context and intent, and today context and intent was completely disregarded, and for the system to actually disregard such things like that mean that your actions no longer matter — they decide what your context and intent is,” he added.

“So, for any comedians in Britain, I’d be very, very worried about making jokes in future, because your context and intent behind them apparently don’t matter anymore.”

Meechan’s video was defended by David Baddiel, a left-liberal comedian of Jewish heritage, on a Sirius radio broadcast with fellow comedian Ricky Gervais, when the case was first going to trial.

Baddiel responded to the judge’s verdict yesterday by observing that “an actual Nazi would not be teaching his pug to Hitler salute, because in 1940s Germany, that would have got you arrested and murdered for taking the piss.”

Gervais, too, took to social media to denounce the decision, saying: “A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed ‘grossly offensive’. If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don’t believe in Freedom of Speech.”

Meechan’s online content covers a wide range of topics, lampooning modern art, social justice activists, and working in call centres.

He outlined his own political views in broad terms after the onset of the pug controversy, and considers himself a “centre-left libertarian”.

He concluded his after-trial statement with an appeal to the public: “Don’t let your memes be dreams. You’d better print that.”

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