A Scottish man has apologized after a video of him teaching his dog to make a Nazi salute and respond to the phrase “gas the Jews” elicited outrage among Jewish groups.
In a video that he posted online under the title “Mate your dog’s a Nazi,” and which has received over 800,000 views, 28-year-old Markus Meechan said he had decided to train his girlfriend’s pug Buddha to be a Nazi as a practical joke.
“My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is, and so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing that I could think of, which is a Nazi,” he told his viewers.
He then filmed multiple instances in which his dog perks up to the sound of the phrase “gas the Jews” as well as simply the word “Jews.” In the second part of the video the dog is seen watching a Hitler speech and raising its right paw in response to the phrase “Sieg heil.”
Jewish groups were incensed by the video, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews calling it “sickening” and encouraging police to investigate Meechan.
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said anti-Semitism should not be regarded “as a joke,” with director Ephraim Borowski telling the Mirror that “to regard the meticulously planned and industrialized murder of six million people solely on the grounds of their ethnicity as a joke is outrageous.”
Meechan later apologized, saying he had never intended to offend anyone with the video and simply wanted “to annoy my girlfriend.” He said he never imagined the video would become viral and had thought it would only be viewed his close friends “who know me and know my sense of humor and know my comedy, which is quite dark.”
He stressed that he hated “racism in any way shape or form…I don’t have any ill will towards the Jewish community or anything like that at all.”
His girlfriend Suzanne Kelly defended him as well, telling the Mirror “that’s just Markus’s sense of humor. He would never set out to insult anybody or cause offense.”