A man who taught his girlfriend’s pet pug to give Nazi salutes and other offensive acts, and then posted footage of the dog on Youtube, has been found guilty of a hate crime.
Mark Meechan, from Scotland, was deemed guilty of communicating a video deemed “grossly offensive” by the Airdrie Sheriff Court.
Meechan was arrested by police for allegedly committing a hate crime by sharing the footage in April 2016.
But Meechan, of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, claimed the video was made to annoy girlfriend, Suzanne Kelly, 29, and denies any wrongdoing.
Meechan, who said he has lost eight jobs since posting the video, claimed he only intended it to be seen by seven of his friends, who follow his YouTube channel.
But he says the video was shared by someone on the social media platform, Reddit, which led to the surge in its popularity.
Meechan said it was “extraordinary bad luck” the video became so popular.
Meechan, who claims the video was “for the purposes of comedy,” previously said he had received support for the joke from famous Jewish comedian David Baddiel.
But Sheriff O’Carroll concluded the video was “threatening and grossly offensive.”
Ricky Gervais, creator of the hit television series “The Office,” then spoke out in defense of Meechan, calling it a matter of respecting freedom of expression.
“If you don’t believe in a person’s right to say things you might find ‘grossly offensive,’ then you don’t believe in 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
But Sheriff O’Carroll found Meechan guilty of sending by “means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character,” reported SWNS.
Giving his verdict to the court, O’Carroll on Tuesday, March 20, he said “In my view, there is no doubt it’s [the video] grossly offensive.”
He said Meechan knew the video was offensive as he said himself during his evidence that he “likes offensive comedy.”
According to the Sun, Scotland’s Jewish community felt the video was highly offensive.
Rabbi Yossi Bodenheim, a student chaplain, said: “It doesn’t mean just because you have free speech you’re entitled to offend somebody else.
“Free speech is about giving your opinion but not offending other people.
“You can’t go ahead and say whatever you want to say and then expect to say ‘oh, it’s free speech.’”