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YouTube star who taught dog a Nazi salute gets $1,100 fine

YouTube star "Count Dankula" gets a big fine for the Nazi pug.

by Christianna Silva
Apr 23 2018, 1:00pm

YouTube

A man in the United Kingdom trained his girlfriend’s dog to give Nazi salutes, filmed the pup, and posted the footage online. That move cost him £800 ($1,115.40) on Monday.

Mark Meechan, 30, who posts under the username “Count Dankula,” uploaded videos of his girlfriend’s pug, named Buddha, responding to Nazi slogans such as “gas the Jews” and “sieg heil” by raising its paw.

The video is still on YouTube, although users can no longer post comments, share, embed, or suggest the video because it “contains content that may be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” Meechan’s channel, Count Dankula, is still active with more than 184,000 subscribers.

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Meechan’s video, posted in April 2016, raised questions about the line between satire and hate speech in the U.K.

YouTube's warning on the video, shown to U.S. users.

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, who sentenced Meechan, said the video was more sinister than satire. Last month he found Meechan guilty of a charge under the Communications Act, because the video was “anti-semitic and racist in nature,” according to the BBC.

“This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration,” O’Carroll said at the time. “But the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility.”

As a result of the charge, he was fined more than $1,100 on Monday

“On the whole evidence, including your own, applying the law as made by parliament and interpreted by the most senior courts in this land, 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,” Meechan said on Monday, according to the Guardian.

Meechan, however, argues the video was only intended as a joke to upset his girlfriend.

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

Cover image: YouTube