Count Dankula, real name Markus Meechan, is a Youtuber who makes comedic videos. While many of you might not know his work extensively, there is one video of his that went viral. In it, Meechan wanted to irritate his girlfriend by having her pet dog by turning it into a "Nazi." This was done by giving it a Pavlovian response to phrases that made reference to the Holocaust.
The success of this obviously comedic video proved to be Meechan's undoing. On the 28th April Meechan was arrested by Scottish police on the grounds of "publication of offensive material" which constitutes "improper use of electronic communications under the Communications Act 2003." Specifically the video has been deemed to be a hate crime and Meechan could now face a custodial sentence.
The point of the video seems to have been overlooked. He wanted a "cute" dog to be subverted. The intent was to show the Nazi ideology as being reprehensible. It also shouldn't need to be said that the idea of a dog embracing the Nazi idelogy is absurd. Mocking the Nazis, has been a staple of modern comedy. Through ridicule the power of hate groups is diminished.
Meechan himself has openly spoken out about racism and all forms of prejudice through social media. His is a joke gone horribly wrong. He has apologised for the video, removed the offending content and communicated with members of the Jewish community to educate himself about why his video could be perceived to be insensitive. He is no anti-Semite. He is a comedian who wanted to explore boundaries. Even if you find the joke distasteful, hopefully you can agree that a joke in poor taste doesn't warrant anyone being sent to jail.
Fighting a case such as this has proven expensive, especially as the labeling of Meechan as someone facing a trial for a "hate crime" has limited his employment opportunities. Today his application for legal aid was declined. He now faces a costly trial with little income and therefore little ability to hire the legal team with specialist knowledge of the case law required to remain free.
Markus has avoided wanting to crowdfund his case. He is a proud person who acknowledges his mistakes and wants to fight this alone, believing justice will prevail. At this point that doesn't seem viable. As a colleague and associate of Markus's I have set this up to enable him to have a fighting chance when he goes to court. I support free speech, even comedy we might find offensive, and if Markus were to be branded a criminal for a tasteless joke that sets a dangerous precedent that should worry us all. I hope you'll join me in supporting Markus by donating what you can.