YouTuber convicted of hate crime after teaching pug Nazi salute raises money for appeal on GoFundMe

A popular YouTuber who was fined for teaching a pet pug to give a Nazi salute and posting the video online has turned to GoFundMe to raise money for his legal appeal.

Mark Meechan, better known as Count Dankula, was fined $1,100 (£800) on Monday after he was found guilty under the Communications Act after posting a video showing his girlfriend’s dog reacting to phrases such as “Sieg Heil" and "Gas the Jews" with what appears to be a Nazi salute.

On a page titled "Fund the Count Dankula Appeal," Meechan has raised more than $120,000 (£87,000).

"This conviction will be used as an example to convict other people over the things they say and the jokes they make, it sets a standard where courts will be able to willfully ignore the context and intent of a persons words and actions in order to punish them and brand them as criminals," Meechan wrote online.

The YouTube star is seeking £100,000 in total.

He wrote the reason for the high amount is because "...my lawyer wishes to bring in top legal representatives to ensure that we have the highest chance of reversing the standard that this case sets..." 

YouTube

YouTube (Speaking after the verdict, Meechan said: "There has been a huge miscarriage of justice.")

The YouTuber’s case became widely known after he was arrested in 2016 when the video went viral. He maintains the video was a joke.

Suzanne Kelly, the girlfriend, defended Meechan last year in court, saying he is not anti-Semitic and has “always been very supportive towards minority groups,” according to the paper.

"[The dog] will lift his paw to virtually anything if he gets a treat for it. We have taught him to lift his paw to food, like ham or cheese,” she said in court. "They were just words to make him lift his paw and I know those words were used in the context of the video."

Meechan's GoFundMe page had more nearly 5,000 shares on social media as of Wednesday morning.

Fox News' Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.