The case of the Nazi pug has inspired a lot of constructive debate in Resisting Hate.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think jokes are hate speech. I think the wording used to get the dog to do the Nazi salute was offensive and could have been worded in a way that made the same joke without being so blatant but watching the original video and listening to the motivation as to why Mark Meechan wanted his girlfriend’s pug to perform a Nazi salute I think what he said has been taken out of the context he intended.
Meechan wanted to play a trick on his girlfriend who adores their very cute pug dog called Buddha. His plan was to get the dog to do the most horrible thing he could think of which was to respond with a Nazi salute to an antisemitic statement. Not my humour and likely not yours but important to be aware that the joke was on the girlfriend (and possibly on the dog) and the whole point of the joke was actually acknowledging that being a Nazi was the worst thing this You Tube comedian could think of (and I think we all agree a Nazi is about as low as it gets).
Now my view on this and probably the view of many of this depends on the overall context. I don’t know whether this man was making this joke in isolation or whether he has a history of antisemitic hate. So far I haven’t been able to find this by researching. If he is a hater and this is just another incident in a long line of antisemitic slurs then absolutely he deserves prison.
BUT (and it’s a big but) if this was a one off joke intended to play on the cuteness of a pug and the evil of Nazism with no malicious intent behind it then I think the media are blowing this out of all proportion and so are the justice system. We can’t imprison people for making a joke!
I found a great exchange between Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel (both professional comedians) who discuss this case in some depth. Food for thought.
Background in Investigative journalism. Mum. Christian. I’m better than nobody and nobody is better than me.