Illustrating the state of free speech in the UK after a YouTuber was convicted for making his dog do a “sieg heil” salute as part of a joke video, not even Nazi Germany charged a Finnish man for doing a similar thing.
30-year-old Mark Meechan was convicted of the hate crime of being “grossly offensive” by a court in Scotland yesterday and faces up to a year in prison.
In April 2016, Meechan uploaded a video to annoy his girlfriend showing his pet pug lifting its paw whenever he said the words “gas the Jews”.
Despite police receiving zero complaints from members of the public, he was arrested and subsequently convicted under the Communications Act because the video was “anti-semitic and racist in nature”.
Following Meechan’s conviction, the Ralph Report dug up an old BBC News article about a Finnish man whose wife named his dog “Hitler” because it raised its paw when it barked.
Tor Borg was later interrogated by the Nazis on suspicion of insulting Hitler and attempts were made to sabotage his business.
In one uncovered document, German Vice Consul Willy Erkelenz in Helsinki wrote that “a witness, who does not want to be named, said he saw and heard how Borg’s dog reacted to the command ‘Hitler’ by raising its paw”.
“Mr Borg was called into the German embassy for questioning, where he admitted that his wife Josephine – a known anti-Nazi German – had called the dog Hitler, but denied being involved in anything “that could be seen as an insult against the German Reich,” reports the BBC.
Nazi officials didn’t believe Borg and spent three months trying to bring him to trial for insulting Hitler, but no witnesses would come forward. They also tried to pressure suppliers to Mr Borg’s pharmaceutical firm, including IG Farben, to stop doing business with him.
However, in March 1941, the Chancellory decided that, “considering that the circumstances could not be solved completely, it is not necessary to press charges.”
So in other words, Nazi Germany was more lenient in its treatment of Borg than UK authorities were in their treatment of Meechan.
“Even the REAL NAZIS decided against charging a man that had a Hitler-saluting dog. I think that says a lot about the current state of play in the United Kingdom,” writes Ethan Ralph.
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