Criminalizing Comedy? Man Facing Prison Time for Joke Video of Dog Doing Hitler Salute

by Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project:

Although he has apologized for his actions, according to Scotland resident Mark Meechan, he set about to “p—s off” his girlfriend, and says that he’s no racist.

Now Meechan is on trial for hate crime charges—facing a year in prison.

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

The video shows the dog appearing to raise its paw in a Nazi salute when Hitler is heard proclaiming “Seig Heil,” as the dog watches footage of a rally during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Meecham can be heard on the footage asking the dog: “Buddha, do you want to gas the Jews?” and “Who’s a good wee Nazi?”

But, does this activity actually raise to the level of a hate crime?

Scottish prosecutors say it does.

The “M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi” video, posted in April 2016, which has been viewed over 3 million times, shows the dog becoming agitated every time it hears the word “Jews.”

While some people clearly see the video as satire, others believe that it was anti-Semitic.

In an interview with Alex Jones, Meecham said that shortly after posting the video he received a visit from police to his North Lanarkshire, Scotland residence. Officers informed him that the video promoted violence against Jews, and placed him under arrest.

Meecham is now on trial for violating the Communications Act of 2003, which criminalizes the use of public telecommunications to send messages that discriminate against others based on their religious beliefs

Critics of the video claim that it crosses the line from satire, to promoting violence against Jews—with some claiming that any comedy using anything Hilter, or Nazi related, normalizes Nazism.

Scottish prosecutors allege that by posting a video on YouTube that was “anti-Semitic in nature,” the material communicated would cause fear and alarm, and stir up religious based hatred, according to the Telegraph.

He also faces an alternative charge of posting a video on social media and YouTube that was grossly offensive because it was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature,” according to The Washington Post.

The prosecutors say the act was aggravated by religious prejudice, a claim Meechan disputes.

“I feel in the long run I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told Jones of InfoWars. “It was clearly satire. It was clearly a joke. I wasn’t setting out to cause any offense to any people. If anything I was wanting people to laugh and just obviously, it was taken the wrong way.”

Meecham says that if he is found guilty, he faces a year in prison.

Cases like this reveal exactly why the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is so crucial.

While some speech may be extreme and repulsive, the prohibition on certain ideas, even the most repugnant, being put into the public marketplace of ideas is a fast track to totalitarian governmental control—essentially legitimizing the “thought police.”

Similar “hate crime” laws are common across much of Europe.

Recently, an 87-year-old woman was arrested and sentenced to 10-months in jail after being convicted of violating German hate speech laws after claiming that Jews were never exterminated in Auschwitz.

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