A Scottish comedian, Mark Meechan, was found guilty of a hate crime on Tuesday for posting a video of himself on his Youtube channel, training his girlfriend’s pug, Buddha, to mimic a Nazi and respond to commands the court ruled as "anti-Semitic."
The now restricted Youtube video aptly named, "M8 Yer dugs a Nazi" shows his pug Buddha, and Meechan where he begins to explain the premise of the video, that of which the court had decided "context and intent are irrelevant" stating that he finds his girlfriend's attitude towards the lovable pup as "annoying" because "she thinks everything Buddha does is cute" and in his own words he states that he wants to play a prank on her by turning the dog into the ugliest and least cute thing he could think of, a Nazi! And who wouldn't agree with that statement?
This, of course, means he must train and teach the pup in the detestable art of "Sieg heiling" to the voice command of "wanna gas the Jews?" just how you'd train any dog to sit, or shake or play dead he uses the same techniques just changes the words, as much as I hate having to explain a joke (especially when its not mine to explain) its about the complete lack of awareness the adorable little pug has to the actions he's performing. Its a little dry in its execution but the results are hilarious in my view and in the opinion of 3 million + others.
Of course as certain we are of the sun rising, someone was offended by the edgy prank but no official complaint to the police or UK government was ever made, the government and more specifically Scottish police decided to take action against the culprit (No they left the nazi Pug alone) Mark has since been embroiled in a criminal court case over the video for 2 years and will most likely at this point serve 12 months in prison in what many to believe as an act of being made into an example for others that like making jokes to think about whether or not the joke is worth going to prison for.
You might be asking yourself, "Why was Meechan targeted specifically? many people make offensive videos and posts in the UK" and you'd be correct, in 2015 alone 1,209 people were found guilty of offenses under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 - equivalent to three every day.
many media organizations also upload, redistribute and expose these "hate crimes" to a worldwide audience, if hate speech is there to stop hate from spreading and "Context and intent are irrelevant", how does this work when news and media are reporting on offensive videos and hate? For instance, you most likely will not find Meechan's original video as it has been banned and hidden away, placed in a "restricted state" but re-uploads of the same video from large news operations like, Vice, BBC, Fox, CNN, WSJ, HuffPo etc. have the video in full, playing, continuously replaying the video to millions and millions of people giving the "hate" a bigger platform. My question to these supporters of Hate crime and blasphemy laws is simple, what do you plan to do about this? your laws aren't working as intended in fact if anything its just made it worse for everyone, including you.
Even though in the court decision it was clear the judge did not want to take the context of Meechan's video into account as this was clearly intended to be a joke or prank at his girlfriend's expense, you'd think at this point the only real victim here could be his girlfriend? funnily enough, she didn't report him to the police, the government decided to act on its own accord and try him for a hate crime against the crown itself - considering the video itself was in-fact a disparagement of Nazism. makes you think why the crown felt offended? are they Nazis? if not why were they offended?
Some might argue "well he was found guilty of being anti-Semitic " and I would say in my best imitation of Mark, "Do you wanna gas the Jews son?". Now I can be tried for a hate crime since the crown finds "context and intent are irrelevant" this means any and all mentions of Jews, 1920 -1945, Germany, Camps, Gas, Concentration, Holocaust, Nazi, and Hitler. is considered at worst a hate crime and at best an unreported hate crime, all it takes is for someone or the government to find it and become "grossly offended" and that's it. you'll be taken to court too.
Think about that next time you see John Cleese Goose step or watch a historical documentary, read an old book, watch a prank on youtube. You could be committing a grossly offensive hate crime. . .