Mark Meechan


Mark Meechan (born 19 October 1987)[1] is a Scottish YouTuber and former UK Independence Party candidate for the European Parliament.[5][6] He uses the online name Count Dankula.

Mark Meechan
Meechan during an interview in December 2017
Personal information
BornMark Meechan
(1987-10-19) 19 October 1987 (age 33)[1][2]
NationalityScottish
OccupationYouTuber
Spouse(s)
Suzanne Kelly
(m. 2019)
[3]
Children1
YouTube information
Also known asCount Dankula
Channels
Years active2015–present
Subscribers851,000 (Count Dankula)
244,000 (Count Dankula 2)
17,900 (Count Dankula Streams) – as of 13 June 2021[4]
Total views124.8 million (Count Dankula)
15.34 million (Count Dankula 2)
373,000 (Count Dankula Streams) – as of 13 June 2021[4]
YouTube information
100,000 subscribers 2018

Updated: 13 June 2021

Meechan received press coverage when he posted a video showing him teaching his girlfriend's dog how to raise its paw in the manner of a Nazi salute, and to react to the phrase "Do you wanna gas the Jews?"[7][8][9][10] Meechan was arrested and convicted of being "grossly offensive" under the Communications Act 2003, following a trial in March 2018. The arrest generated controversy and discussions about free speech.[11][12] In April 2018, Meechan was fined £800.[13][14] Meechan stated he would not pay the fine,[15] and instead donated £800 to the Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity.[16] In March 2019, the money was seized from his bank account by an arrestment order.[17]

Arrest


In April 2016, Meechan posted a video on YouTube of his girlfriend's pet pug Buddha titled "M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi".[18] At the start of the video, he says: "My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi."[10] In the video, the dog, prompted by the command "Sieg Heil", raises his right paw in the manner of a Nazi salute, watches a speech by Adolf Hitler, and responds immediately when Meechan asks if he wants to "gas the Jews".[9][10] It ends with images of Hitler and Buddha depicted with a toothbrush moustache similar to Hitler's.[19][better source needed]

Meechan was arrested on suspicion of breaching the Communications Act 2003.[20] On 19 March 2018, Meechan was convicted of breaching the act by Sheriff Derek O'Carroll at Airdrie Sheriff Court.[21] The court ruled that Meechan's claim that the video was a joke intended for his girlfriend "lacked credibility" as Meechan's girlfriend did not subscribe to the YouTube channel to which the video was posted.[11][21] On 23 April 2018, Meechan was sentenced to a fine of £800, with no prison sentence.[14]

Reaction

Approximately 500 people gathered in London to protest for free speech when the sentence was handed out.[22] Following Meechan's conviction, British comedians Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel made comments supporting Meechan.[11][20][23][24] Others who opposed the prosecution included Kenan Malik, Tim Blair, Helen Dale, Douglas Murray, Tom Walker, Shappi Khorsandi, Marc Randazza, Jonathan Turley and Stephen Fry.[31] Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg stated that the right to free expression must include the right to offend, "otherwise the freedom is meaningless".[14]

Sitcom writer Graham Linehan condemned Meechan. Meechan responded by saying that Linehan's show Father Ted also contained Nazi-related jokes.[32] Meechan was scrutinised for embracing support from right-wing figures Alex Jones and Tommy Robinson, to which he replied: "Imagine totally abandoning protecting human rights, just because someone you don't like is defending them too. Astounding."[32] On 6 May 2018, Meechan spoke at the "Day for Freedom" rally, organised by Robinson, which was described as far-right by news media and observers.[33][34][35][36]

David Coburn, the United Kingdom Independence Party Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, released a two-page statement condemning the ruling as "an embarrassment".[37] Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, brought up Meechan's case in the House of Commons and said: "Can we have a debate about freedom of speech in this country – something this country has long held dear and is in danger of throwing away needlessly?"[38]

Sheriff O'Carroll noted that there were only "very limited" submissions from the defence and the prosecution on the matter of the law as it regards freedom of expression; because of this, the trial was "concerned, ultimately, only with the narrow fact-based question of whether the Crown has proved beyond reasonable doubt that your using a public communications network on one day to post the video onto your video channel, constituted an offence contrary to section 127(1)(a) of the Communications Act 2003".[39] He said the ruling sets no precedent.[21]

Meechan started a GoFundMe campaign on 24 April 2018 to raise £100,000 for an appeal and reached his goal as of 25 April.[40] In August 2018, Meechan announced that his request for an appeal had been denied by a member of the Sheriff Appeal Court, who also accused Meechan's lawyer of contempt. The letter stated that the appeal was "not arguable" due to the nature of the "deeply unpleasant offence". Meechan stated that he plans to contest the matter with the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.[41] Meechan's lawyer Dorothy Bain subsequently petitioned the High Court of Justiciary to hear the case. Senior judge Lord Carloway opined that the High Court did not have the power to grant an appeal denied by the Sheriff Court.[42] In March 2019, the £800 was seized from Meechan's bank account under an arrestment order.[17]

On 17 June 2020, Meechan announced that his additional appeal to the Supreme Court was also rejected. Meechan stated his intention to bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights.[43]

BBC Scotland planned to feature Meechan in a 2019 debate program, The Collective, and had him film two episodes. However, the network announced that these episodes would not be aired after a backlash over the announcement.[44] BBC Three produced a documentary on Meechan's case which aired during the summer.[45][46]

Politics


On 16 June 2018, Meechan announced that he had joined UKIP along with fellow YouTubers Carl Benjamin and Paul Joseph Watson in what Watson describes as an attempted "soft coup".[47][48][49]

In April 2019, Meechan said he intended to stand for MEP on behalf of UKIP in the upcoming 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom.[50][51] He was named fourth on UKIP's list in Scotland,[52] but was not elected after UKIP won only 1.8% of the vote in Scotland.[53]

In November 2019, Meechan posted a video announcing that he had left UKIP, citing internal disputes and backstabbing within the party over their leadership as his reason for leaving.[54]

On 25 July 2020, Meechan announced on Twitter that he had joined the Scottish Libertarian Party.[55]

On 10 April 2021, Meechan made an announcement on Twitter that he is running in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election as a candidate for the Scottish Libertarian Party.[56] He finished fifth in Motherwell and Wishaw with 254 votes.[57] He was also first on the party's regional list for the Central Scotland region.[58]

Personal life


Meechan married Suzanne Kelly in 2019.[59] They have a child, born in 2021.[60]

YouTube


Meechan created his primary YouTube channel in August 2015. It contains Meechan's comedic videos, also known as shitposts, and videos discussing his opinions on free speech. It also features his video series, titled Absolute Mad Lads, which discusses various humans and animals in history and their perceived impressive character traits or actions. Meechan also has 2 other channels: his secondary channel, called Count Dankula 2: Electric Boogaloo and a now disused channel, called Count Dankula Streams.

He made a parody of the song Nations of World, titled the same, with different lyrics.

See also


References


  1. Meechan, Mark [@CountDankulaTV] (17 October 2018). "It's My Birthday" (Tweet). Retrieved 16 May 2019 via Twitter.
  2. @SUEHULK (16 June 2019). "Look how handsome @CountDankulaTV is!" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 January 2020 via Twitter.
  3. "About Count Dankula". YouTube.
  4. Miller, Graham (29 July 2017). "Coatbridge man who taught his girlfriend's dog to do a Nazi salute faces court". Daily Record. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. Cramb, Auslan (20 March 2018). "YouTube user convicted of hate crime over pet dog's 'Nazi salutes'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. Norton, Oliver (20 April 2016). "Shocking video shows man training 'Hitler dog' to perform a Nazi salute". Mirror Online. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  7. "Video of man teaching dog Nazi salute meets outrage". Times of Israel. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  8. Wootson, Cleve R Jr (12 September 2017). "This video showed a Nazi-saluting dog. Was posting it on YouTube a hate crime?". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  9. "Hate crime trial of YouTube user over video of dog 'taught to do Nazi salute'". The Telegraph. 12 September 2017. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  10. "Man guilty of hate crime over 'Nazi pug'". BBC News. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  11. "Man convicted of hate crime for video of dog giving Nazi salute". NY Daily News. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  12. "YouTuber Count Dankula could face year in jail for Nazi dog video". Newshub. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  13. Dearden, Lizzie (23 April 2018). "Man who filmed girlfriend's dog giving Nazi salutes fined £800". The Independent. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. Count Dankula (15 November 2018). Young Independence 2018 - Count Dankula. Retrieved 15 November 2018 via YouTube.
  15. "Nazi dog Youtuber donates court fine to charity". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  16. MacDonald, Stuart (11 April 2019). "Nazi pug man Mark Meechan hopes to stand as Ukip MEP". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  17. Count Dankula (11 April 2016). M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi. Archived from the original on 11 May 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2019 via YouTube.
  18. Griffith, Connor (20 April 2018). "Offensive jokes becoming criminal? Count Dankula's conviction". Keep Calm and Talk Law. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  19. "YouTuber found guilty of hate crime for teaching pet pug 'Nazi salute'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  20. "PF v Mark Meechan - Judgments & Sentences - Judiciary of Scotland". www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  21. Williams, Martin (23 April 2018). "Row over police filming London protest over Scots 'Nazi dog' creator conviction". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  22. Malik, Kenan (25 March 2018). "The 'Nazi pug': giving offence is inevitable and often necessary in a plural society". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  23. "YouTuber Count Dankula found guilty of hate speech for 'Nazi salute' pug video". 20 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  24. Murray, Douglas (23 April 2018). "The Prosecution of Count Dankula". National Review. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  25. Khorsandi, Shappi (23 March 2018). "The conviction of Count Dankula sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of speech". The Independent. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  26. "Jonathan Pie Defends YouTuber Convicted for Nazi Pug Video". Yahoo News. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  27. Blair, Tim (26 April 2018). "From being fined to being very fine indeed". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  28. Randazza, Marc (22 March 2018). "Scottish comedian's Nazi salute dog video was awful. But it wasn't a crime". CNN. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  29. Turley, Jonathan (22 August 2019). "New Jersey event canceled after threats from anti-free speech groups". Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  30. [23][25][26][27][28][29][30]
  31. Williams, Martin (27 March 2018). "How 'Nazi dog' creator Mark Meechan clashed with Father Ted writer". Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  32. Bailey, Luke (8 May 2018). "Tommy Robinson's "Day For Freedom" rally was about promoting far right ideology, not free speech". i. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  33. Grafton-Green, Patrick (6 May 2018). "Scuffles break out as thousands descend on London for far-right rally". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  34. Wright, Mic (7 May 2018). "A snowflake crowd at the 'Day for Freedom' protest". GQ UK. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  35. Strudwick, Patrick (11 May 2018). "The Drag Queen Who Sang At A Far-Right Rally Says Inciting Hatred Shouldn't Be A Crime". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  36. Williams, Martin (28 March 2018). "Scots UKIP chief says 'Nazi Dog' conviction is 'a national disgrace and embarrassment'". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  37. Coulter, Martin (22 March 2018). "Yorkshire MP Philip Davies backs Ricky Gervais in freedom of speech row after YouTuber Count Dankula found guilty of making 'highly offensive' video". Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  38. "Communications Act 2003". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  39. Coulter, Martin (26 April 2018). "Count Dankula GoFundMe: 'Nazi pug' man Mark Meechan raises £100,000 in bid to appeal court conviction". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  40. Dearden, Lizzie (8 August 2018). "Count Dankula: Man who taught pug to do Nazi salute has appeal refused". The Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  41. "Supreme Court appeal blocked for man in Pug Nazi salute case". BBC. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  42. Count Dankula (17 June 2020). Count Dankula Vs The United Kingdom - Taking My Country To Court. Retrieved 17 June 2020 via YouTube.
  43. Baynes, Chris (5 March 2019). "Man who taught girlfriend's pet pug to perform Nazi salute dropped from BBC series after backlash". The Independent. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  44. "BBC airs documentary about the man who trained his dog to make a Nazi salute". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  45. Mitchell, Hilary (1 August 2019). "Edinburgh Fringe hit back at 'Nazi Pug Man' Mark Meechan's claim he was banned from the festival". Edinburgh Live. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  46. Count Dankula (16 June 2018). UKIP Needs You via YouTube.
  47. Sommer, Will (26 June 2018). "Far-Right YouTube Stars Plan Takeover of UKIP". The Daily Beast.
  48. Walker, Peter (29 June 2018). "Ukip's new guard: web agitators threaten to swamp struggling party". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  49. Macdonald, Stuart (10 April 2019). "'Nazi pug' YouTuber 'Count Dankula' says he's standing for Ukip in Euro election". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  50. Wharton, Jane (11 April 2019). "Man who trained dog to give Nazi salute says he'll stand for UKIP in Europe elections". Metro. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  51. "Scotland's European election candidate lists in full". Holyrood. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  52. "SNP increases MEPs amid Labour collapse". BBC News. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  53. Count Dankula (11 November 2019). Why I'm Leaving UKIP. Retrieved 23 December 2019 via YouTube.
  54. Meechan, Mark. "Well now". Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  55. Meechan, Mark (10 April 2021). "I'm running in the Scottish Elections taking place on the 6th of May". Twitter. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  56. "Motherwell & Wishaw". BBC News. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  57. "Scottish Parliament election 2021: Central Scotland regional candidates". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  58. @SUEHULK (16 June 2019). "Look how handsome @CountDankulaTV is!" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 January 2020 via Twitter.
  59. @SUEHULK (19 March 2021). "Welcome to the world wee Sadie Meechan. Born 17/3/2021 at 16:26" (Tweet). Retrieved 21 March 2021 via Twitter.