For the past two years, The United Kingdom has dedicated valuable state resources towards prosecuting a YouTube comedian for teaching his girlfriend’s pet pug how to do a Nazi salute. Markus Meechan (Known online as “Count Dankula”), the man behind the controversy, had uploaded a video to YouTube showing the dog reacting to statements like “Gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil”.
A harmless joke….one might say a joke made in bad taste, but a joke worth prosecuting in court over? According to the UK’s judiciary system,…. YES. It is this joke that has been at the heart of a debate about free speech for the past year. Hilariously enough, when Count Dankula first uploaded the video to his relatively small YouTube channel, it barely received over a thousand views.
Thanks to the court case and constant media attention, the video went on to receive over 3 million views. The controversy has also received commentary from free speech advocates like Ricky Gervais and Jewish comedian David Baddiel, who vehemently defended his right to free speech. Others however, were of the view that the video was hateful speech and its creator should be punished by the law.
Last month, Dankula was found guilty of committing a “hate crime”, and there were even fears he might have to face jail time. His final sentencing came this week; no jail time, but he has to pay a fee of £800 for posting the “grossly offensive” video which contained “menacing, anti-Semitic, and racist material”. All the media hype, the court cases back and forth, the lawyer fees, it was all over a comedic 2 minutes video. The UK has officially lost its mind.
As most people have pointed out, the £800 fee isn’t the problem; the simple fact that The UK is prosecuting people for such mundane issues shows just how backwards their priorities are. You would think a nation with increasing knife attacks, terrorist bombings and child grooming gangs would have more important things to worry about.
Watch the Nazi pug video below: