BBC Scotland cancels show with Nazi pug criminal after furious backlash

Mark Meechan speaks to the media outside Airdrie Sheriff Court. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Mark Meechan speaks to the media outside Airdrie Sheriff Court. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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BBC Scotland have performed a dramatic U-turn after facing a backlash over their decision to give a TV role to a criminal who taught a dog to perform a Nazi salute.

Mark Meechan, who was convicted of a ‘grossly offensive’ hate crime last year was set to co-star in a programme on the broadcaster’s new digital channel.

Campaigners had branded the move to give Meechan a role in the late-night discussion series ‘absolutely sickening’.

BBC Scotland were quick to change their mind after the original decision to appoint the 31-year-old who uploaded a video to YouTube showing his girlfriend’s pug dog doing the ‘Sieg Heil’ salute alongside obscene Nazi imagery.

A BBC Scotland spokesperson, said: “We have been reviewing our new late night discussion programmes The Collective during the edit process.

“As with all new formats, robust editorial processes apply.

“In this case we have concluded that it’s not appropriate to include Mark Meechan as a contributor. The two programmes in which he featured will not be broadcast as part of any series.”

The blogger of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, also chanted variations of the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’ - repeating the slur 23 times in a few minutes.

Meechan has boasted to his social media followers that he was still refusing to pay his £800 fine and continued to protest his innocence.

He was set to star with reality TV personality James English, who admitted assaulting and spitting on a woman in 2015, and dominatrix Megara Furie.

BBC Scotland was last month criticised for ‘dumbing down’ its new Scottish channel in a bid to appeal to younger viewers.

MSPs had also called on the broadcaster to reconsider airing the programmes for fear they may breach its charter.

Jewish campaigners blasted the corporation for supporting a man convicted for an anti-Semitic hate crime.

Glasgow Friends of Israel member and lawyer Matthew Berlow said he was in disbelief that Meechan who he believes has made light of the Holocaust was even considered for a role.

He added: “It is absolutely sickening and disgusting.

“Anti-Semitism is a very difficult subject but we Jews know what it looks and feels like.

“I know that anti-Semitism has become very popular but I don’t think that [Meechan’s politics] can be described as a “view”. The Holocaust is no laughing matter.”

The BBC Scotland programme, which will air next month, will see four people with strong opinions take on controversial topics in each episode.

The regular contributors will lead and present the show and debate among themselves in a living room-style set-up according to one source.

A tweet this week that included Meechan’s social media persona Count Dankula revealed that he, English and Miss Furie will co-star in the new programme.