YouTube may be a platform for self-expression, but it is just as open to examination, judgment, and criticism as any other public platform. Your actions on the site can also lead to prosecution according to certain laws.
This is was what YouTube creator Markus Meechan, also known as Count Dankula, found out the hard way after posting a seemingly innocuous ”joke” video. Read on to learn what offensive content can do to your YouTube popularity, and how you can prevent such these consequences from harming you.
A “joke” video…Leads to jail?
Meechan published the controversial video in April, 2016. In it, a pug named Buddha raises its right leg up to “salute” every time Count Dankula says “Sieg Heil.” The dog also perks up from sleep every time it hears “gas the Jews,” or “Jews.”
The dog was even shown watching Hitler and appeared to raise its paw when Hitler said “Sieg Heil.” Meechan praised the dog, “Who’s a good wee Nazi?”
Buddha is owned by Meechan’s girlfriend. In the video, he explains that:
“My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute her dog is so I thought I would turn her into the least cute thing you could think of, which is a Nazi.”
The Scottish YouTube creator clarified that he was not a racist. “I just really, really wanted to piss (my girlfriend) off.”
Count Dankula’s video has since attracted more than 3.5 million views. While some found it amusing, others thought that it was anti-Semitic. Sure enough, the Scotland police were soon receiving complaints about the video.
Count Dankula’s punishment for the video
Meechan was charged with violating the United Kingdom’s Communications Act of 2003. The law dictates that all public communications that send out discriminatory religious messages are considered unlawful.
The YouTuber was eventually found guilty of the charge by the Airdrie Sheriff Court in Scotland, and was ordered to pay a fine of £800 ($1035). He was not handed a jail term as per the law.
Count Dankula sentence: Scottish comedian Mark Meechan who taught his girlfriend's pug to perform Nazi salute fined £800 https://t.co/sjLSX5j2SV pic.twitter.com/0zcy3zcEg4
— SECCEN (@securityctrl) April 23, 2018
In his defense, Meechan repeated his explanation that the video was only meant as a personal joke. He also apologized for the incident. The court pointed out that the video has been interpreted as “grossly offensive” by a large section of the Jewish community. It added that since Meechan uploaded it on his public YouTube page, where everyone can watch, it was hardly a personal video.
What you can learn from Count Dankula’s case
Meechan’s video and the eventual controversy around it highlight the negative impact of posting offensive content on social media. While you might get a few miles from such content, the ensuing backlash will definitely hurt you more.
Even if you are not charged in court, you could still end up losing a lot of your social media followers. Depending on how bad the reception was, it might be difficult to bounce back. Definitely not the result that you would want to get from a “simple joke.”
Dealing with offensive content
The best way to deal with offensive content is to avoid it at all costs. While a section of your audience might be fine with it, another will likely be offended. There is no point in making one section of your fan base laugh at the cost of losing another.
Of course, there are instances where you might have posted offensive content without genuinely realizing it. Here, you should act fast to remove the offending content and issue an apology. Be sure that this apology is visible in all your social media pages. Don’t be like Count Dankula and wait for the controversy to get out of hand.
I apologize too, I've been getting it from every angle so as soon as I get approached my back is up right away and I'm immediately aggressive. I'm sorry for the way I came across and I am not usually like this.
— Count Dankula🏴 (@CountDankulaTV) April 30, 2018
Purchasing social media followers will help cushion your page from the ensuing backlash. Use our followers providers list to find out which ones offer the best quality. You will need that to make your account look like it isn’t losing hundreds, or thousands, of followers rapidly to save face. People will likely reconsider the decision to unfollow you if they see that you are still attracting new followers despite what happened.
Be wise, don’t be like Count Dankula
Count Dankula’s video and the resulting backlash show that, even if it is for a bit of humor, offensive content should be off-limits on your social media pages. The negative consequences far outweigh whatever gains you could get in return.
Be safe by staying with the content that will best engage your audience and keep them following you. Check out our blog regularly to learn more useful lessons on how you can keep your social media pages on the right path to attracting followers.
The irony is the actual Nazi’s would have been the ones arresting this guy if he did this in the 1930s. They’d say it mocks the National Socialist party and he must be made an example of. If you can’t speak freely, no matter how crass, you’re living under an authoritative rule, just like those in Nazi Germany.
Therefore, as a YouTuber, we must be extra careful about the content of our videos. Since, some of the people are very sensitive and close-minded. Even if you mean no harm in your video, if some people feel harassed, you will get into jail. By the way, nice article. Keep posting!