Scottish YouTuber and comedian, Count Dankula, said that the impeding Hate Crime and Public Order law in Scotland — which criminalises ‘stirring up hatred’ — is a new form of puritanism, saying that “the same boomer level argument” that sought to ban video games, rap music, and Dungeons and Dragons is being used to restrict the “jokes and memes” on the internet.
Mark Meechan, more commonly known by his online moniker Count Dankula, was found guilty in 2018 by the Glasgow Sherrif Court Tuesday for committing the “hate crime” of filming his girlfriend’s dog doing a Nazi salute. Despite Meechan’s claim that the video was a “shitpost”, “joke video for a laugh”, the court ruled that the video was “grossly offensive” — a crime that could have resulted in a prison sentence for the comedian under the Communications Act.
This week, the government of Scotland has concluded a public consultation on the change to the country’s hate crime laws, which Mr Meechan fears will usher in even more restrictive curtails on freedom of speech.
In comments made to Breitbart London, Meechan said: “The new Scottish hate crime bill not only restricts the human right of freedom of expression but it is a direct breach of Article 10 Section 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights.”
“It outlaws many forms of expression through mediums ranging from online communications right up to live comedy performances, and it justifies this with the term ‘stirring up hatred’, something completely subjective and the legislation defines this term so poorly, if at all, and the term itself is completely without merit.
“It is based on the same arguments made by the hyper-Christian conservatives of yesteryear, who would say things like: ‘rap music causes crime, video games cause violence, playing dungeons and dragons cause devil worship’. It’s the same boomer level argument from the 90s, only this time it’s been turned into memes and jokes can cause hatred,” the comedian warned.
BREAKING: YouTuber 'Count Dankula' Found Guilty in 'Sh*tposting' Case by British Court https://t.co/NSiESVDaGj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 20, 2018
Mr Meechan also pointed to Section 5 of the proposed hate crime bill, saying: “It criminalises even possession of offensive content, and the way things currently work is if the police believe that you may be in possession of offensive content then they are allowed to begin surveillance of you and can get a warrant to search your home as well as search and seize your electronic devices.”
“As for who has offensive content on their phone or computer? Probably every single teenager in this country,” he surmised.
“But not only does this bill violate human rights, it asks for a maximum sentence of seven years simply for being in possession of offensive content — the maximum sentence of possession of child abuse images is 10 years — so having offensive memes on your computer will carry almost the same maximum prison term as being caught with child abuse images on your computer.
“This bill literally violates human rights, and if the SNP allow this to pass it will absolutely destroy any claims they have made in being an honest and fair government. When it comes to dealing with racism and social justice, this bill is the cowards way out,” Meechan concluded.
YouTuber Count Dankula Refuses to Pay ‘Gross Offence’ Fine, Donates Money to Children’s Hospital https://t.co/Dvrqh8VqKF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 30, 2018
Scotland’s justice secretary, Humza Yousaf denied that the hate crime bill will limit free speech, telling BBC Scotland: “I don’t accept that this curtails free speech at all. Free speech in itself is never an unfettered right.
“We don’t accept that people can go on speaking tours, saying that women should be raped and children should be kidnapped – we just don’t accept that freedom of speech is completely unfettered,” Yousaf said.
“What this does is create a protection for, particularly minority groups and vulnerable groups in our society, against being targeted for hatred and being targets for hatred,” he added.
The justice spokesman for Scotland’s Labour Party, James Kelly, disagreed with this assessment, saying that there is a “significant divergence” from hate crime laws in England and Wales, which require intent to be demonstrated to prosecute an alleged hate crime.
“Under the current proposals, the law here would not require this intent to be present – which sets an alarming legal precedent and could result in the criminalisation of expressions of religious views,” Kelly warned.
White People Banned from Speaking at ‘Resisting Whiteness’ Event at Edinburgh University https://t.co/DvX93q4kFY
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 1, 2019
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