Scottish YouTube personality Mark Meechan — also known to fans as ‘Count Dankula’ — has been given a £800 fine after recording a video of his girlfriend’s dog doing Nazi salutes.
The punishment comes some two years after the video was originally broadcast on the YouTube platform, which Meechan maintained was a joke intended to irritate his girlfriend, but the judge said was actually a “grossly offensive” communication and it was “self evident” that the joke was anti-Semitic.
The owner of the dog trained to do tricks around which the trial centered, Buddha, is Meechan’s girlfriend Suzanne Kelly who has defended her partner, saying the dog would lift its paw for anything if it thought it would get a treat for doing so, and said her boyfriend had “never expressed anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic” views.
Reporters swarmed me, wouldnt let me pass. One guy shoves a mic in my face and says "Why is it funny to gas the Jews?" They must teach sneaky questions like that on journalism courses.
Then as we are trying to get past, one of the cameramen on purpose tries to trip up Sue.
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) April 23, 2018
Speaking earlier in the trial, YouTuber Dankula criticised the length of proceedings, remarking: “It’s been two years of my life completely put on hold, I’ve not been able to get a job, there have been threats against my life… threats off Antifa, far left radicals.”
“They’ve tried to portray me as a racist and a Nazi, apparently context doesn’t matter anymore.”
The £800 fine comes after concern that the Scottish judge could have hit the online comedian with the full potential sentence possible under Communications Act of 2003, which could have seen Meechan jailed. The case attracted interest from comedians such as Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel, and Index on Censorship, all who have criticised the Communications Act being used to punish comedians.
Breitbart London reported on the case in March when the judge found Meechan guilty, and the YouTuber said that the joke had been taken out of context by the court. He said: “What they should have realised from the start is realise how ridiculous this entire thing is, okay he’s just a shitposter, he’s an edgy comedian’, there are famous comedians who have done much worse than me [like Frankie Boyle] and you don’t see them getting arrested.”
“The thing which makes it so ridiculous is that this is over a joke, I’m a Youtuber, I made the joke video for a laugh… but then people wanted to misrepresent that.”