UK: Man Found Guilty Of A Hate Crime For 'Offensive' Joke

Chris Menahan
Mar. 20, 2018

A UK court on Tuesday found a YouTube comedian guilty of a hate crime for making an "offensive" joke.

From the BBC:
A man who filmed a pet dog giving Nazi salutes before putting the footage on YouTube has been convicted of committing a hate crime.

Mark Meechan, 30, recorded his girlfriend's pug, Buddha, responding to statements such as "gas the Jews" and "Sieg Heil" by raising its paw.

But police were alerted and he was arrested for allegedly committing a hate crime.

The original clip had been viewed more than three million times on YouTube.
Grossly offensive

Meechan, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, went on trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court where he denied any wrong doing.

He insisted he made the video, which was posted in April 2016, to annoy his girlfriend Suzanne Kelly, 29.

But Sheriff Derek O'Carroll found him guilty of a charge under the Communications Act that he posted a video on social media and YouTube which was grossly offensive because it was "anti-semitic and racist in nature" and was aggravated by religious prejudice.

Sheriff O'Carroll told the court he did not believe Meechan had made the video only to annoy his girlfriend and ruled it was anti-Semitic.

He also said he believed Meechan, who was supported at court by far-right activist Tommy Robinson, left the video on YouTube to drive traffic to other material he had on there.

He added: "In my view it is a reasonable conclusion that the video is grossly offensive

"The description of the video as humorous is no magic wand.

"This court has taken the freedom of expression into consideration.

"But the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility."

'Intelligent and articulate'

Sheriff O'Carroll said Meehan was "quite obviously an intelligent and articulate man".

But he added: "The accused knew that the material was offensive and knew why it was offensive.

"Despite that the accused made a video containing anti-Semitic content and he would have known it was grossly offensive to many Jewish people."
From The Independent:
Ephraim Borowski, 66, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), told Airdrie Sheriff Court the Holocaust should not be joked about and doing so normalised antisemitism.

Mr Borowski told the court how he lost members of his own family to the Holocaust, in which over six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

He was shown the recording of the video in court and said: "It is grossly offensive, it stuns me that anyone should think it is a joke. My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between an off-hand remark and the amount of effort that is required to train a dog like that, I actually feel sorry for the dog.

"In many ways, the bit I found most offensive was the repetition of 'gas the Jews' rather than the dog itself."
Offending the wrong people is now illegal in the UK.

Ricky Gervais criticized the ruling:

More reactions:

Leftists defended the ruling:

(Note, the above image on the right features Stuchbery saying, "Kill Whitey.")

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