Mark ‘Count Dankula’ Meechan was convicted under the Communications Act in Scotland for hate speech for teaching his girlfriend’s dog to salute to the words “Sieg Heil’” and would become excited when it heard the words “gas the jews”.
There was no outrage from the online community regarding Meechan’s joke and numerous comedians such as Ricky Gervais came to his defence, writing on Twitter: “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.” But a court still decided it was “grossly offensive” and convicted him in March 2018, and deferred any sentencing until April 23rd.
Thankfully for YouTuber Count Dankula, today he found out he will receive no jail time, but he still received a £800 fine. even though this is a fairly insignificant punishment, it’s still a violation of free-speech.
The government may see this as being lenient on Meechan, but all it proved is that free speech now has a price tag attached to it.
So where does everyone go from here? there are no set guidelines for what the UK government calls “grossly offensive.” And while everyone who saw the video knew exactly what the context behind it was, a man merely trying to annoy his girlfriend by trolling her, the government spoke for an entire nation by convicting him.
Should we be worried? absolutely, it was clear from the beginning that Mark was used as an example, an excuse for the government to flex their muscle and inform everyone that THEY will decide what is offensive.
But not only that, they wanted everyone to know that they can now control what you say and how you say it, and you won’t have a damn clue what the punishment will be, in a free society this is simply not acceptable and should not be normalized, but it’s clear the UK government does not care.
We can be thankful Count Dankula received no jail time, but he still had to pay a price for a joke that no-one found offensive besides the thought police known as the UK government.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) April 23, 2018