Mark Meechan (pronounced [miːkæn]) (born 19 October 1987[1]) is a Scottish YouTuber and former UK Independence Party candidate for the European Parliament.[4][5] He uses the pseudonym Count Dankula.

Mark Meechan
Meechan during an interview in December 2017
Personal information
Born (1987-10-19) 19 October 1987 (age 35)[1]
Suzanne Kelly
(m. 2019)
YouTube information
Also known asCount Dankula
Years active2015–present
Subscribers1 million (Count Dankula)
313,000 (Count Dankula 2)
17,600 (Count Dankula Streams)[3]
Total views174 million (Count Dankula)
41.4 million (Count Dankula 2)
434,000 (Count Dankula Streams)[3]
100,000 subscribers2018

Last updated: 12 January 2023

Meechan received press coverage when he posted a video showing him teaching his girlfriend's dog how to raise its paw in the manner of a Nazi salute, and to react to the phrase "Do you wanna gas the Jews?"[6][7][8][9] Meechan was arrested and convicted of being "grossly offensive" under the Communications Act 2003, following a trial in March 2018. The arrest generated controversy and discussions about free speech.[10][11] In April 2018, Meechan was fined £800.[12][13] Meechan stated he would not pay the fine,[14] and instead donated £800 to the Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity.[15] In March 2019, the money was seized from his bank account by an arrestment order.[16]

Arrest Edit

In April 2016, Meechan posted a video on YouTube of his girlfriend's pet pug Buddha titled "M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi".[17] At the start of the video, he says: "My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi."[9] In the video, the dog, prompted by the command "Sieg Heil", raises his right paw in the manner of a Nazi salute, watches a speech by Adolf Hitler (footage shown from the Triumph of the Will),[18] and responds immediately when Meechan asks if he wants to "gas the Jews".[8][9] It ends with images of Hitler and Buddha the dog depicted with a toothbrush moustache similar to Hitler's.[19][better source needed]

Meechan was arrested on suspicion of breaching the Communications Act 2003.[20] On 19 March 2018, Meechan was convicted of breaching the act by Sheriff Derek O'Carroll at Airdrie Sheriff Court.[21] The court ruled that Meechan's claim that the video was a joke intended for his girlfriend "lacked credibility" as Meechan's girlfriend did not subscribe to the YouTube channel to which the video was posted.[10][21] On 23 April 2018, Meechan was sentenced to a fine of £800, with no prison sentence.[13]

Reaction Edit

Approximately 500 people gathered in London to protest for free speech when the sentence was handed out.[22] Following Meechan's conviction, British comedians Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel made comments supporting Meechan.[10][20][23][24] Others who opposed the prosecution included Kenan Malik, Tim Blair, Helen Dale, Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson, Tom Walker, Shappi Khorsandi, Marc Randazza, Jonathan Turley and Stephen Fry.[31] Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg stated that the right to free expression must include the right to offend, "otherwise the freedom is meaningless".[13]

Sitcom writer Graham Linehan initially condemned Meechan (however Linehan has since retracted his condemnation and apologised to Meechan)[32]. Meechan responded by saying that Linehan's show Father Ted also contained Nazi-related jokes.[33] Meechan was scrutinised for embracing support from right-wing figures Alex Jones and Tommy Robinson, to which he replied: "Imagine totally abandoning protecting human rights, just because someone you don't like is defending them too. Astounding."[33] On 6 May 2018, Meechan spoke at the "Day for Freedom" rally, organised by Robinson, which was described as far-right by news media and observers.[34][35][36][37]

David Coburn, the United Kingdom Independence Party Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, released a two-page statement condemning the ruling as "an embarrassment".[38] Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, brought up Meechan's case in the House of Commons and said: "Can we have a debate about freedom of speech in this country – something this country has long held dear and is in danger of throwing away needlessly?"[39]

Meechan started a GoFundMe campaign on 24 April 2018 to raise £100,000 for an appeal and reached his goal as of 25 April.[40] In August 2018, Meechan announced that his request for an appeal had been denied by a member of the Sheriff Appeal Court, who also accused Meechan's lawyer of contempt. The letter stated that the appeal was "not arguable" due to the nature of the "deeply unpleasant offence". Meechan stated that he planned to contest the matter with the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.[41] Meechan's lawyer Dorothy Bain subsequently petitioned the High Court of Justiciary to hear the case. Senior judge Lord Carloway opined that the High Court did not have the power to grant an appeal denied by the Sheriff Court.[42] In March 2019, the £800 was seized from Meechan's bank account under an arrestment order.[16]

On 17 June 2020, Meechan announced that his additional appeal to the Supreme Court was also rejected. Meechan stated his intention to bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights.[43]

BBC Scotland planned to feature Meechan in a 2019 debate program, The Collective, and had him film two episodes. However, the network announced that these episodes would not be aired after a backlash over the announcement.[44] BBC Three produced a documentary on Meechan's case which aired in July 2019.[45][46]

Politics Edit

Meechan identifies politically as a libertarian in contrast to descriptions as politically right-wing and far-right by multiple media outlets.

On 16 June 2018, Meechan announced that he had joined UKIP along with fellow YouTubers Carl Benjamin and Paul Joseph Watson in what Watson describes as an attempted "soft coup".[47][48][49]

In April 2019, Meechan said he intended to stand for MEP on behalf of UKIP in the upcoming 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom.[50][51] He was named fourth on UKIP's list in Scotland,[52] but was not elected after UKIP won only 1.8% of the vote in Scotland.[53]

In November 2019, Meechan posted a video announcing that he had left UKIP, citing internal disputes and backstabbing within the party over their leadership as his reason for leaving.[54][non-primary source needed]

Meechan ran in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election as a candidate for the Scottish Libertarian Party, finishing fifth in Motherwell and Wishaw with 254 votes.[55] He was also first on the party's regional list for the Central Scotland region.[56]

Personal life Edit

Meechan married in 2019.[2] His wife gave birth to their first daughter in 2021[57] and second in 2023.[58]

Electoral history Edit


2021 Scottish Parliament election: Motherwell and Wishaw[59][60][61]
Party Candidate Constituency Regional
Votes % ±% Votes % ±%
SNP Clare Adamson[a] 18,156 53.2  0.7 15,672 45.9  1.8
Labour Martine Nolan 10,343 30.3  0.8 8,429 24.7  1.8
Conservative Nathan Wilson 4,472 13.1  0.6 5,911 17.3  3.0
Scottish Green 1,951 5.7  2.0
Liberal Democrats Martin Veart 557 1.6  1.0 520 1.5  0.2
Alba 496 1.5 New
All for Unity 278 0.8 New
Independent Green Voice 254 0.7 New
Scottish Family 228 0.7 New
Libertarian Mark Meechan 254 0.7 New 94 0.3 New
Abolish the Scottish Parliament 86 0.3 New
Reform UK 63 0.2 New
UKIP Neil Wilson 173 0.5  0.5 62 0.2  2.2
Freedom Alliance (UK) 62 0.2 New
Independent Paddy Hogg 49 0.1 New
Communist Daniel Lambe 194 0.6 New
Majority 9,437 26.4  5.0
Valid Votes 34,149 34,155
Invalid Votes 84 74
Turnout 34,233 58.9  7.7 34,229 58.9  7.6
SNP hold Swing
  1. ^ Incumbent member for this constituency


European Election 2019: Scotland[62][63]
List Candidates Votes % ±
SNP Alyn Smith (1)
Christian Allard (2)
Aileen McLeod (5)
Margaret Ferrier, Heather Anderson, Alex Kerr[64]
37.8 +8.8
Brexit Party Louis Stedman-Bryce (3)
Karina Walker, James Ferguson-Hannah, Stuart Waiton, Paul Aitken, Calum Walker
233,006 14.8 New
Liberal Democrats Sheila Ritchie (4)
Fred Mackintosh, Catriona Bhatia, Vita Zaporozcenko, John Edward, Clive Sneddon[65]
218,285 13.9 +6.8
Conservative Nosheena Mobarik (6)
Ian McGill, Shona Haslam, Iain Whyte, Andrea Gee, Michael Kusznir[66]
182,476 11.6 -5.6
Labour David Martin, Jayne Baxter, Craig Miller, Amy Lee Fraioli, Callum O’Dwyer, Angela Bretherton[67] 146,724 9.3 -16.6
Scottish Green Maggie Chapman, Lorna Slater, Gillian Mackay, Chas Booth, Mags Hall, Allan Faulds 129,603 8.2 +0.1
Change UK – The Independent Group David Macdonald, Kate Forman, Peter Griffiths, Heather Astbury, Colin McFadyen, Cathy Edgeworth 30,004 1.9 New
UKIP Donald MacKay, Janice MacKay, Otto Inglis, Mark Meechan, Roy Hill[68] 28,418 1.8 -8.7
Independent Gordon Edgar[69] 6,128 0.39 New
Independent Ken Parke[69] 2,049 0.13 New
Turnout 1,561,226 39.9 +6.4

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Meechan, Mark [@CountDankulaTV] (17 October 2018). "It's My Birthday" (Tweet). Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b @SUEHULK (16 June 2019). "Look how handsome @CountDankulaTV is!" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 January 2020 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b "About Count Dankula". YouTube.
  4. ^ Miller, Graham (29 July 2017). "Coatbridge man who taught his girlfriend's dog to do a Nazi salute faces court". Daily Record. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. ^ Cramb, Auslan (20 March 2018). "YouTube user convicted of hate crime over pet dog's 'Nazi salutes'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
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  7. ^ "Video of man teaching dog Nazi salute meets outrage". Times of Israel. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
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  19. ^ Griffith, Connor (20 April 2018). "Offensive jokes becoming criminal? Count Dankula's conviction". Keep Calm and Talk Law. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
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  25. ^ Murray, Douglas (23 April 2018). "The Prosecution of Count Dankula". National Review. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  26. ^ Khorsandi, Shappi (23 March 2018). "The conviction of Count Dankula sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of speech". The Independent. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
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  28. ^ Blair, Tim (26 April 2018). "From being fined to being very fine indeed". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  29. ^ Randazza, Marc (22 March 2018). "Scottish comedian's Nazi salute dog video was awful. But it wasn't a crime". CNN. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  30. ^ Turley, Jonathan (22 August 2019). "New Jersey event canceled after threats from anti-free speech groups". Retrieved 9 December 2019.
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External links Edit