Commentary

In Case You Missed It: Comedian Found Guilty of Hate Crime for Teaching Dog Nazi Salute

Free speech was losing in 2018, and that’s evident by the sentencing of a man who was found guilty of a hate crime for teaching his girlfriend’s dog a Nazi salute.

Scottish comedian Mark Meechan originally uploaded the footage of his girlfriend’s “Nazi pug” in 2016.

“My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute her wee dog is,” Meechan explained in the video. “And so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing that I can think of, which is a Nazi.”

Meechan had the dog watch speeches of Adolf Hitler and eventually the dog learned to lift his paw to phrases like “sieg heil.”

It’s obviously not the most tasteful joke, but any sensible person should agree that it doesn’t warrant a trial, conviction and punishment.

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After months of legal battles, Meechan was eventually found guilty of a hate crime and slapped with a fine of £800 (about $1,000) in March, according to the BBC.

As Meechan explained in the original video and in his defense, the point of a joke was to make a cute animal react to something vulgar.

Do you think the left would try this in the United States?

Meechan’s attorney, Ross Brown, said Meechan doesn’t actually hold any anti-Semitic views.

“His girlfriend testified that Mr. Meechan had never made known to her any anti-Semitic views whatsoever,” Brown said, according to another BBC report.

“The accused possesses both tolerant and liberal views,” he added.

That wasn’t enough for Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, who attempted to justify the sentencing by saying the joke “was grossly offensive,” BBC reported.

“I found it proved that the video you posted, using a public communications network, was grossly offensive and contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material,” O’Carroll said.

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Again, as a “joke,” teaching a dog to salute like a Nazi isn’t exactly hilarious. But as a matter of free speech, using the law to penalize someone for embarking on such a joke is downright dangerous.

Fortunately, some protesters were present outside the court to make that point for Meechan’s April sentencing.

One of the most prominent public voices in defense of Meechan was British comedian Ricky Gervais.

“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,” Gervais tweeted in March.

Gervais is right. Freedom of speech means that people have the right to make bad jokes — even if they are tasteless.

Obviously, Scotland doesn’t value that freedom — in August, Meechan’s attempt to appeal his sentence was refused, according to the U.K. Independent.

Meechan has said he won’t pay the fine, and the status of his case was unclear on Thursday. But the perils the kind of things poses to traditional Western values is clear. Other countries could go down the same path as the PC culture becomes more prevalent.

This is how the left will kill freedom of speech.

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Malachi Bailey is a writer from Ohio with a background in history, education and philosophy. He has led multiple conservative groups and is dedicated to the principles of free speech, privacy and peace.
Malachi Bailey is a writer from Ohio with a passion for free speech, privacy and peace. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a B.A. in History. While at Wooster, he served as the Treasurer for the Wooster Conservatives and the Vice President for the Young Americans for Liberty.
Topics of Expertise
Politics, History




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