Mark Meechan, of Lanarkshire, taught his girlfriend’s pet pug to give Nazi salutes and then posted the footage on YouTube. The 30 year old has been found guilty of a hate crime and will be sentenced for communicating a grossly offensive video.
Meechan taught his girlfriend’s pug to react to the words ‘gas the Jews’ which he repeated 23 times in the video that he uploaded to YouTube. The video, which was watched more than 3 million times, was titled ‘M8 Yur Dug’s a Nazi.’
Denying any hate crime, Meechan claimed that he only intended for the video to be seen by friends and that its popularity was ‘extraordinary bad luck.’ He further claimed that it was ‘for the purposes of comedy’ and that he did not intend to cause fear or alarm. Meechan’s defence lawyer Ross Brown said that Meechan could not have reasonably foreseen that one of his friends would widely share the video. He added that there was no evidence of a complainer in the case and that the police had not been contacted by anyone who found the video offensive. He suggested that Meechan’s arrest was an ‘attempt to demonstrate diversity credentials’ and that ‘the complainer would appear to be the police.’ Sheriff O’Carroll was not persuaded by this and pointed out that Meechan has failed to take any steps to keep the video private.
Sheriff O’Carroll said:
‘he said he chose ‘gas the Jews’ as it was the most offensive phrase associated with the Nazi’s that he could think of. It was the centrepiece of the joke. He said it was so extreme that it added to the comedy.’ ‘He knew what he was doing.’ ‘It is self-evident that the material is antisemitic.’
Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, Ephraim Borowski, told the court that the Holocaust should not be joked about and doing so normalised antisemitism.
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.”