A Jewish group in Glasgow, Scotland has criticized the BBC for making a documentary about a YouTube celebrity who taught his girlfriend’s pug dog to perform the Nazi salute.
Mark Meechan, 31, told the program his video was freedom of speech and called it “edgy humor.”
Attorney Matthew Berlow of Glasgow Friends of Israel said of the show: “Are we really at the stage when we can now laugh at the painful deaths of six million human beings and call it ‘edgy’ comedy?” the Scottish Sun reported last Wednesday.
The BBC Three show called “The Nazi Pug: Joke or Hate?” follows Meechan, known on YouTube as Count Dankula, as he debates his conviction for recording a dog raising its paw to statements including “Gas the Jew.” It became available online last Monday.
He taught the pug, named Buddha, to respond with the Nazi salute when prompted by statements such as “Heil Hitler” and “Gas the Jews.” Meechan posted videos of the dog performing the trick on YouTube. He was found guilty of a hate crime and fined $1,100.
The original video, posted in April 2016 on his YouTube channel, Count Dankula, has been viewed nearly 4.3 million times. Meechan said on the video that he trained the dog to annoy his girlfriend. He later posted a video in which he apologized for the original dog clips, saying it was a joke and that he has no such political leanings.
Berlow and his organization also have called on YouTube to remove the video. He said YouTube “is perpetuating the crime he’s been convicted of.”
A BBC spokesperson defended the network’s decision to air the documentary.
“There has been much debate and public interest in the actions of Markus Meechan who was found guilty of an offence under the communications act,” the spokesperson said in an email. “His arrest generated controversy and discussion about freedom of speech and the documentary explores this whilst challenging Markus’ views and holding him to account.”