A YouTube comedian who goes by Count Dankula was found guilty of a hate crime on Tuesday in Britain for training his girlfriend’s pug to do a Nazi salute in response to certain verbal cues or commands.
You can watch a video of the man gradually training to dog to respond to phrases like “Sieg Heil” and “Gas the Jews” by raising it’s front right leg.
The overwhelming response to the verdict, especially from comedians like Ricky Gervais, was negative on the grounds that the decision is a threat to freedom of speech.
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
Count Dankula, whose real name is Mark Meechan, spoke to reporters after the verdict and said that it is worrisome for comedians in Britain that the court did not consider the context or intent of speech it deemed “grossly offensive.”
“I think it is a very, very dark day in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. One of the primary things that must be considered in cases like this is context and intent and today context and intent were completely disregarded,” he said. “For the system to actually disregard such things means that your actions no longer matter. They decide what your context and intent is.”
Meechan tweeted that his sentencing will take place on April 23 and that he was ordered to meet with a court worker to determine if he would have to wear a GPS tracking device while under house arrest.
Sentencing deferred to 23rd of April.
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) March 20, 2018
[Image source: YouTube screengrab]