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Video of Dog Giving Nazi Salutes Earns Man Hate Crime Charge

A good reason to be a free-speech absolutist

Jailed DoggoDamedeeso/DreamstimeA case out the United Kingdom is a perfect example of why legislation restricting "hate speech" is a terrible idea.

In April 2016, Mark Meecham of Coatbridge, Scotland, posted a YouTube video of his girlfriend's dog Buddha responding to the words "seig heil" by raising his paw in a Nazi salute and responding to the question "Do you want to gas the Jews?" by jumping to attention. According to Meecham, the video was intended to prank his partner's overdone admiration for her admittedly adorable pet.

"My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is. And so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi," he says at the beginning of the video, titled M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi.

Meecham's video quickly went viral, racking up some three million views and sparking reactions of both amusement and offense. Then police showed up at his door and arrested him for a hate crime.

Specifically, Meecham was charged with violating Section 127 of the U.K.'s Communications Act, which prohibits electronic communications that are "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character." If convicted, could face up to six months in prison and fines of up to £5,000. His trial is ongoing.

Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, testified as a witness for the prosecution at Meecham's trial, saying: "My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between an offhand remark and the amount of effort that is required to train a dog like that. I actually feel sorry for the dog." He added that "material of this kind goes to normalize the anti-Semitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of."

The Washington Post was quick to play up that angle, quoting at length from a Fairfield University professor speculating that satirizing Nazis somehow normalizes and emboldens those who hold anti-Semitic views. (Are there really a lot of otherwise neutral YouTube watchers who'll be radicalized by seeing a pug giving Nazi salutes?)

In a follow-up clip, Meecham strenuously denied his video was an endorsement of Nazism. But his intent is beside the point. The man faces jail time for making a dumb YouTube video. Be glad we have a First Amendment here in the U.S.

Photo Credit: Damedeeso/Dreamstime

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  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, testified as a witness for the prosecution at Meecham's trial, saying: "My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between an offhand remark and the amount of effort that is required to train a dog like that. I actually feel sorry for the dog."

    Why?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Damned pug-dog is the NAZI!!! BadDog is the one that gave the NAZI salute!

    Off to the gas chambers with BadDog! Gas him with Zyklon B! That will teach dogs to be NAZIs!

  • Quixote||

    Six months in jail is nothing for such a heinous crime, although in New York the punishment for inappropriately deadpan "parody" of a distinguished academic department chairman, which is even worse, is apparently only two months, when it should have been a year. Surely no one here would dare to defend the "First Amendment dissent" of a single, isolated judge in America's leading criminal "satire" case? See the documentation at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • gaoxiaen||

    Need Cliff Notes version. TL:DR

  • ||

    Does he have no idea how many treats are consumed in the learning of a dog trick?

  • Juice||

    There is no effort to "train" a dog to raise its paw. There is also no real training required to get a dog excited when it hears "want to...?" They know that "want to...?" means that we're about to go for a walk or play or something fun.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    "My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between killing oe jew and the amount of effort that is required to kill 6 million jews. I actually feel sorry for the SS." - some other intellectual black-hole

    #TyrannySpotting

  • Hugh Akston||

    The man faces jail time for making a dumb YouTube video. Be glad we have a First Amendment here in the U.S.

    Nakoula Basseley Nakoula sure is.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Hey, I'm for as much free speech as the next guy, but if you create something that incites violence you should be imprisoned.

  • albo||

    Your idiotic post incited me to hit my screen. You need to go to jail.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    I will defend to the death your right to insult me, but only if no one gets hurt.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Commentator provocateur much?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    You're supposed to say that you don't have first amendment protections when you BREAK THE LAW, which is what this immigrant did before violating the terms of his probation.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Be glad we have a First Amendment here in the U.S.

    "Not for long."

    -Antifa

  • some guy||

    Anitfa is nowhere near getting rid of an amendment. It's hard to change the constitution. You either need the vast majority of the country on your side at once or 9 lawyers on your side over generations.

  • Pinky||

    5 lawyers.

  • Bob Straub||

    Maybe it's hard to change the Constitution, but these days it's easy to ignore it.

  • Rat on a train||

    "satirizing Nazis somehow normalizes and emboldens those who hold anti-Semitic views"
    Damn you Mel Brooks!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    This comment is itself anti-Semitic!
    [phones Scottish constabulary]

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    "The Holocaust is not a subject for jocular content."

    Seriously, Mel Brooks, stay out of the UK. Is there a statute of limitations on this crime?

  • Rat on a train||

    Wait until it escalates and they start requesting extradition.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    At least Jerry Lewis is dead and can't threaten us with The Day the Clown Cried anymore.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I wonder how Hogans Heroes would fare these days.

  • Brandybuck||

    No question that it would not have been able to be made anytime in the last several decades. Heck, it was controversial at the time, despite toning down Nazism into mere pablum. My dad didn't like it much because it trivialized the conditions of the POWs. But the trivializing was the only reason it got made.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    He added that "material of this kind goes to normalize the anti-Semitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of."

    [citation needed]

  • Grumpy Bear||

    ¹Thoughts while having a monster shit - Opportunistic Professor (ca. 1995) Vaguely recalled 2017

  • some guy||

    Citations only apply to people who are at least tenuously in touch with reality.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, testified as a witness for the prosecution at Meecham's trial, saying: "My immediate reaction is that there is a clear distinction to be made between an offhand remark and the amount of effort that is required to train a dog like that. I actually feel sorry for the dog."

    Be...cause...of...the...

    Wait, what did this motherfucker just say?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    All dogs are supposed to go to heaven, but you think this Nazi dag will get in? The man has condemned it to eternal torment.

  • Rat on a train||

    The dog may get in, but will have to be kept on a leash.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know who else tried to normalize anti-Semitic views?

  • albo||

    Linda Sarsour?

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Ezra Pound?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Mel Gibson?

  • TheHeathen||

    Hedy Lamar?

  • Rat on a train||

    That's Headley!

  • TheHeathen||

    Thank you

  • Rat on a train||

    The Ivy League?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Francis Bellamy?

  • colorblindkid||

    The man faces jail time for making a dumb YouTube video. Be glad we have a First Amendment here in the U.S.

    Benghazi...

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Benghazi...

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Early this year I saw idiot after idiot in the US say that fears of hate crime legislation are overblown and examples of abuse or outrageous application are non-existent. And that these hate crime laws are good and smart when they're narrowly tailored to inherently dangerous speech, like speech promoting Nazism.

    This summer has brought forward multiple cases showing how naive and wrong these idiots are. Buncha idiots.

  • colorblindkid||

    Also keep in mind that there have been a lot of cases from the UK, and the UK is only 1/5th the size of America. There will be a lot more here.

  • Zeb||

    I choose to remain optimistic and say that there won't. For the most part, free speech is well respected in US courts.

  • some guy||

    This. The problem is that politicians and law enforcement can make a person's life a living hell long before they ever see a courtroom.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Yeah. Like we would see cops do something like that. Like cops would steal something from people without merit that is guaranteed in the constitution. It's almost like you expect me to believe cops would go as far as to take money from people without even charging them with a crime or have real cause.

    /FFS, they do that too!?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    It often seems to about what it not said:

    No one is going to take your guns [not just yet, anyway...].
    No one is going to punish you for saying anything [well, maybe not today...]
    If you respect women and don't do anything wrong you have nothing to be worried about [Title IX]
    No one is gong to charge you for a felony for doing something you didn't know was wrong [malum prohbitum....]

  • colorblindkid||

    Also, the most popular opinion on the WaPo story comment section is that the guy deserved it. What the fuck is wrong with people?

    People feel bad for the dog? What the hell does the dog know? Why does he care? Kids today watch too many anthropomorphic animals and not enough Planet Earth.

  • Agammamon||

    . . . M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi.

    Isn't that the title of the new GLC album?

  • Mazakon||

    Giving evidence, Mr Borowski continued: "The other thing that struck me was the explicit statement that this was intended to give offence and intended to be the most offensive thing he could think of and then he says he isn't a racist but unfortunately we hear that all the time from people.

    Go fuck yourself.

  • ||

    my neighbor's cats look like Rudolf Hess.

  • Citizen X - #6||

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    "I actually feel sorry for the dog." He added that "material of this kind goes to normalize the anti-Semitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of."

    This is around when he came and was able to get back to his real job of sucking dick under London Bridge.

  • Ron||

    We used to use Satire to diminish those we want to admonish such as Nazis.

    I guess in the future you won't be able to mention NAZI in any form wether it be praising or in admonishment. It will be erased from both history and memory, how Orwellian, and once its gone from memory an ideal becomes more dangerous for thats when it reappears, just under a different name such as Antifa

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    And that bit of snark will get you what Solzhenitsyn called a "tenner."

  • juris imprudent||

    Dead dogs don't give Nazi salutes. /American cops

  • cgr2727||

    Slightly OT, but this story reminds me of one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. I live in a part of Chicago with a significantly large Jewish population. I was at the dog park one day when an obviously Jewish family came in with the biggest German shepherd I've ever seen. I wasn't sure if it was supreme ignorance, or delicious irony. I could just imagine the wife and kids picking up dad at the train station on his evening commute, and Fido going full-on Schindler's List as dad stepped out of the train car.

    *"obviously Jewish" as in wearing yarmulkes and other distinctive wardrobe. It's sad I even have to qualify the statement so I'm not accused of making easily-offended people foam at the mouth.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Large German-derived dogs seem to be surprisingly popular among the Hasids in the neighborhood next to mine, so i believe it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Why not? They're smart, working dogs. It's not their fault they were so skilled they got chosen for military work the world over.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Yeah, in GB you'd likely be charged under Section 127 for this posting; I'm pretty sure it's also illegal to notice any distinguishing characteristics that lead you to believe* such persons are part of any specific creed, who might otherwise claim a victim status. Chilling and triggering and such.

    Sad part is, I can believe it can happen.

    *to the extent that you provide evidence of said belief, as it is not yet possible to actually read ones thoughts [give it time]

  • Enemy of the State||

    Hogans Heroes must never be shown to the public again...

  • Larry M||

    I'm Jewish and I didn't find it offensive. It falls into the same class as that old black-and-white video clip of Hitler ranting at the generals overlaid with subtitles cussing the cable company. You don't honor the man by satirizing him.

  • Trainer||

    My dogs do the same thing when I ask, "Who wants a treat?" My problem comes from the "drop" signal on the drop on recall exercise. We have to remember to keep our arm straight out because if we lift it up too high, it looks like a Nazi salute. Not too bad whey you're in the ring but when you're out in the park practicing and people have no idea what you're doing...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fJ3ZJyXepA

  • Brian Dixon||

    That's not the only cute little doggie on YouTube to turn to the dark side, as it were: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp70Az6siQM

  • aajax||

    "I actually feel sorry for the dog." LOLOLOLOLOL

  • aajax||

    Isn't this the country where one of the princes dressed up in a Nazi uniform?

  • markm23||

    Yes. It's also the country that endured more total (military and civilians) killed fighting the Nazis than the USA, out of a population half the size. Royalty usually weren't selected for their intelligence.

  • markm23||

    Did he actually train the dog to respond to voice commands, or did he babble meaninglessly (from the dog's point of view) while using gestures or holding up a treat out of the camera view to get the responses he needed? In the second case, he displayed massive social cluelessness but it certainly isn't criminal. (And, unlike the British prince aajax mentioned, he doesn't live a lavish life style supported by public funds.)

    In the first case, add incredible stupidity to his faults - but it's still not criminal. Possibly his girlfriend could file a civil suit for mis-training her dog, but I'd have trouble figuring out how to assess the damages. The appropriate penalty for this is bad publicity: I envision a web page with his face, name, and the caption: "Women: if you want your children to be offensive morons, sleep with this man."

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