A Scottish court has found YouTube Comedian Count Dankula guilty of a hate crime for a video in which he made his girlfriend’s pug do a Nazi Salute and respond to commands like “gas the Jews.” He faces up to six months in prison.
The judge Sheriff Derek O’Carroll ruled Count Dankula, a self-identified “professional shitposter,” guilty of being “grossly offensive,” which is a violation of the U.K Communication Act of 2003.
O’Carroll said that “the right to freedom of expression also comes with responsibility.” At the trial, Count Dankula argued that we should still be allowed to joke about offensive topics.
“I don’t actually hate Jewish people and the video was just an insight into the darker side of my humour, a prank to annoy my girlfriend and that I did not intend for people, other than people who knew my comedy, to see the video,” Count Dankula said.
While awaiting sentencing, Court has ordered that I meet with a court social worker for an assessment as to whether or not a Restriction Of Liberty Order will be placed on me. This would involve a GPS tracking device being attached to me and me being placed under house arrest.
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) March 20, 2018
Count Dankula was arrested in 2016 for posting this video, and he has been on trial since then.
The video, which YouTube has put in restricted mode, shows Count Dankula teaching the pug to be “the least cute thing” he could think of to play a prank on his girlfriend.
He was tired of her “ranting and raving” about how cute the pug was, so he made the dog raise its paw when he said “Siege Hiel” and perk its head up when he said “gas the Jews.”
At the end of the video, Count Dankula says he’s “not racist” and that he “just wanted to really, really piss (his girlfriend) off.”
British comedian Ricky Gervais is one of the few celebrities that has spoken out in support of Count Dankula.
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
Political YouTuber Carl Banjamin, who goes by the nom de guerre “Sargon of Akkad”, is hosting a protest against the ruling of the Count Dankula trial outside of Parliament on April 23.
“It is a gross violation of the principle of free speech and liberty in this country and sets a dangerous precedent for the future. It is dangerous not least because what counts as ‘grossly offensive’ is vague and necessarily ill defined,” Benjamin said.
Some people on Twitter questioned the priorities of the U.K. government and courts. One Twitter user said: “Innocent man is arrested for making a harmless joke in a Youtube video. Meanwhile, the same country has allowed thousands of little girls to be raped by rape gangs for the past 40 years. Priorities, right UK? #FreeDankula.”