The YouTube star “Count Dankula” was fined $1,100 for training a dog to give the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute by the pug, which belongs to Dankula’s girlfriend, was deemed “grossly offensive.”
The YouTuber said that he didn’t intend to offend anyone. He just wanted to annoy his girlfriend. However, the dog giving the Nazi salute to statements like “gas the Jews” or “Sieg Heil” was not considered funny by a British court.
- The YouTuber, Mark Meechan by his real name, posted the controversial clip on YouTube in April 2016.
- The video shows the pug raising the paw when the man uttered Nazi statements.
The clip accrued over three million views but it was removed shortly after. Dankula’s channel was not banned in the process. Last month, the YouTuber was found guilty of committing a hate crime and was slapped with a $1,100 fine by the U.K. court.
Airdrie Sheriff judges argued that Meechan infringed the U.K. Communications Act when he posted the video, deeming the clip “anti-semitic and racist in nature”. The trial sparked a huge controversy, with many people criticizing the court over the decision because it infringes the man’s freedom of speech.
Man’s Freedom of Speech Trampled Upon
Stand-up comedian Ricky Gervais took to Twitter to blast the decision. He underlined that the freedom of speech enables a person to say things that some people may find “grossly offensive.”
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.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) March 20, 2018
Last year, Canada passed a law that criminalizes the use of the wrong pronoun when addressing a transgender person. That law also led to frequent clashes between hate crime proponents and freedom of speech advocates.
At some point, a university even disciplined a teaching assistant for showing a clip of freedom of speech advocate Prof. Jordan Peterson to her class. The assistant defended her position saying that she had to show the controversial video to her students to teach them how changing language can change society.
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