On Tuesday a court in Scotland found online comedian Markus Meechan, known as Count Dankula, guilty of “being grossly offensive.”
He now faces a prison sentence of up to six months.
The 30-year-old YouTuber posted a video in April 2016 meant to be a joke, albeit one in poor taste, in which he trained his girlfriend’s pet pug to Sieg Heil. The video was viewed over 3 million times.
The trail, which began last March, has been followed closely by free speech advocates and anti-censorship activists around the world.
Guilty. Recess called to await sentencing.
Meechan was charged with committing a hate crime under a British communications act after he recorded the pug, Buddha, responding to statements like “gas the Jews” and “sieg heil” by raising its paw. Some members of the public reported the video to police, who then arrested Meechan.
Meechan made it repeatedly clear in his YouTube videos and in online conversations that he does not have Nazi sympathies, and denies being a racist. Speaking to DANGEROUS earlier this year, Meechan said that the phrases he used in the video were simply the “most horrible phrases [he] could think of.”
Meechan made the same argument in court, and said he mainly made the video to annoy his girlfriend, who has appeared by his side during the proceedings.
But prosecutors disagreed and said that the video was “an odious criminal act that was dressed up to look like a joke.”
Danks silent protest https://t.co/zRCZPWWqgR
“The Crown contention is that the inclusion of the dog is an attempt to muddy the waters around him making, producing and posting the video,” they said, arguing that the comedy video is “anti-Semitic in nature,” and could cause fear and alarm to the public and stoke religious hatred.
According to independent journalist Lauren Southern, who was present in court for some of the proceedings, and was recently banned from entering the U.K., Crown prosecutors argued that Meechan “is colluding with his pug to use adorableness to trick people into gassing football stadiums full of people.”
Meechan must return to court April 23 for sentencing.
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