YouTuber Fined Over Joke In The UK
A YouTuber who taught his dog a Nazi salute has been convicted of and fined for hate speech in the UK.
Mark Meechan, better known by his Youtube handle Count Dankula, has been sentenced to a fine of £800 after being convicted of hate speech. He was found guilty of being “grossly offensive” for posting a video of his girlfriend’s dog raising its paw in response to phrases like “I want to gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil”.
Meechan has maintained that the video was posted as a joke, and while he knew the material was offensive, it was not meant to be harmful. The courts did not accept his argument and convicted him anyway.
“The evidence before this court was that the video was viewed as grossly offensive within Jewish communities in Scotland and that such material tended to normalize anti-Semitic attitudes and provoke further unpleasant anti-Semitic messages and as such, this video using menacing language, led to great concern.”
“The fact that you claim in the video, and elsewhere, that the video was intended only to annoy your girlfriend and as a joke and that you did not intend to be racist is of little assistance to you. A joke can be grossly offensive. A racist joke or a grossly offensive video does not lose its racist or grossly offensive quality merely because the maker asserts he only wanted to get a laugh.”
The video’s name was “M8 Yer dug’s a Naazi.”
Celebrities and comedians have come out in support of Meechan. Ricky Gervais, someone who I typically find funny until he starts talking about politics, took to twitter to defend “grossly offensive” jokes.
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
The whole thing reeks of authoritarian control and political correctness run amok. This is the same part of the world where gun rights have been restricted and causing a wave of violent knife crime in the capital. Freedom of speech is a protected right in the United States, but in the UK’s Communications Act of 2003 there has been a criminalization of speech “that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”. The law reads like something out of 1984.
We live in a postmodernist world where identity politics rule and people identify by their characteristics, such as their race, gender, skin color, disability, sexual identity, ad nauseam. And because people are unique, there are an infinite number of these dimensions that you can subdivide people into. And because of the infinite nature of these divisions, there are an infinite number of ways for people to claim to be underprivileged or oppressed because of said characteristics. It’s almost impossible to make a joke without someone finding a reason to be offended by it.
The whole postmodernist argument is absurd though because if you follow the line of reasoning on subdividing people into groups like that you eventually run into the fact that people can ultimately be identified completely uniquely, meaning that the individual is the smallest minority, but that’s for another article.
The point is, we can’t let someone being “offended” be the litmus test for crime; it’s an extremely slippery slope that leads to all kinds of speech being criminalized under the pretext of being “offensive”. Imagine a world where political dissidents are arrested for their “offensive” ideas.
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