On Tuesday, Scottish comedian Mark Meechan was convicted by a UK court for posting a video in which he jokingly showed off his girlfriend’s pug as a “Nazi.”
In the original video, which was posted to YouTube on April 11th, 2016 under Meechan’s internet alias “Count Dankula” (the video is still up, but is now only available in a restricted mode), Meechan began by explaining the purpose of his video:
“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 that I could think of, which is a Nazi.”
Meechan then went on to show the pug reacting excitedly to Meechan’s repeated suggestions that they “gas the Jews,” raising its right paw when Meechan says “sieg heil,” and watching a speech of Hitler on TV. At the end of the video, Meechan edited in the famous siren theme from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies and put a Hitler mustache on a still image of the pug to imply that the dog might literally be Hitler.
Regardless of your personal feelings about the tastefulness or quality of the joke video, it was clearly an attempt at comedy, not a real incitement to violence against Jewish people.
And yet, the UK police and court systems do not agree with that assessment. On April 28, 2016, shortly after the video accumulated more than a million views on YouTube, police arrested Meechan on charges that he had violated the UK Communications Act of 2003, which makes it a crime to send “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.” The crime carries a potential punishment of up to six months in prison.
At the time of the arrest, Detective Inspector David Cockburn, who works for Meechan’s local police department, told reporters that [emphasis mine]:
“This clip was shared online and has been viewed almost one million times.
“I would ask anyone who has had the misfortune to have viewed it to think about the pain and hurt the narrative has caused a minority of people in our community.
“The clip is deeply offensive and no reasonable person can possibly find the content acceptable in today’s society.
“This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone posting such material online, or in any other capacity, that such views will not be tolerated.”
A spokeswoman from the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities joined Cockburn in expressing her outrage at the video’s content, telling reporters that "antisemitism is not something that can in any degree be regarded as a joke. It is a form of racism which needs to be condemned just as we would any other form of racism, just as we would condemn Islamophobia or anti-African racism."
Ephraim Borowski, the director of the same Jewish group, condemned the idea that comedians can joke about the Holocaust: "To regard the meticulously planned and industrialised murder of six million people solely on the grounds of their ethnicity as a joke is outrageous, and for someone who does so to claim not to be racist, beggars belief."
In January 2018, British comedian Ricky Gervais hosted Jewish comedian David Baddiel on his Sirius XM show “Ricky Gervais is Deadly Sirius,” where they talked about a wide variety of issues. At one point in their conversation, Baddiel told Gervais about the Nazi pug dilemma and made his case for freedom of speech:
BADDIEL: “Here’s the point though, this is why I was supportive of this bloke. ‘Cause “A,” it looks funny, it is funny. It is funny.
As far as I’m concerned, you can definitely do jokes about the Holocaust.
GERVAIS: You can do jokes about anything.
BADDIEL: You can do jokes about anything.
Upon learning about Meechan’s conviction on Tuesday, Gervais took to Twitter to articulate his frustration with the UK’s contempt for 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
After another Twitter user tried to tell Gervais that he doesn’t really believe in free speech if he doesn’t believe in “freedom of criticism,” Gervais explained to her what the word “conviction” means:
I agree. But sending someone to jail isn't criticism.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) March 20, 2018
In the meantime, as the British Crown Court system spends almost two years and likely hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money pursuing Scots for making offensive jokes, real and horrific crimes are happening all over the country.
As Townhall reported last week, the investigative arm of the Sunday Mirror uncovered another instance of a small English town in which police and other government authorities failed to pursue hundreds of alleged child rapists because of their “Asian” origin. In spite of having evidence that up to one thousand girls had been victimized, including one girl who was burned alive with her sister and mother by her rapist, local police ultimately only went after and convicted less than a dozen suspected abusers.
In what sane universe can a government be more concerned about jokes on social media than child sex trafficking, rape, and murder?
Current Prime Minister Theresa May and her Home Secretary Amber Rudd are leaders of the Tories, Great Britain’s self-proclaimed “Conservative” party, and yet they preside over a state apparatus that can’t even conserve its own laws about raping and exploiting children. Instead, they seem perfectly content with making sure that politically correct platitudes about preserving "community cohesion" are given preeminence and any possible wrongthink is dealt with swiftly and harshly.
With people like that watching your back, Brits might as well stay home from the polls until an actual conservative movement that protects the British people and their country comes around.