California man arrested for threatening Merriam-Webster over gender definitions

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SPRINGFIELD — A California man will be making an appearance in federal court in Springfield today for making threats against Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, CA, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence, according to U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins Office.

According to the criminal complaint, from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, 2021, the Springfield-based reference book company, Merriam-Webster, Inc., received multiple threats from Hanson through its website’s “Contact Us” page and in the comments section for the dictionary word entries for “girl” and “woman.”

On Oct. 2, Hanson is alleged to have used to the handle “@anonYmous” to post the following comment under the website’s definition for “female”: “It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”

Through the website’s “Contact Us” page he threatened to bomb and shoot up Merriam-Webster’s headquarters.

“You [sic] headquarters should be shot up and bombed. It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tranny [sic] agenda and altered the definition of ‘female’ as part of the Left’s efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality. You evil Marxists should all be killed. It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive,” he allegedly wrote.

After receiving the threats, Merriam-Webster closed its offices in Springfield and New York City for about five days. According to U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins Office, Hanson is also believed to have made threats to other institutions including, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Land O’ Lakes, Hasbro, Inc., IGN Entertainment, the President of the University of North Texas, two professors at Loyola Marymount University and a New York City rabbi.

“Hate-filled threats and intimidations have no place in our society,” said Rollins. “We believe Hanson sent a multitude of anonymous threatening and despicable messages related to the LGBTQ community that were intended to evoke fear and division. My office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate threats against members of our communities, no matter what corner of the internet they’re sent from. Perpetrators will be identified, arrested, and held accountable in federal court.”

If Hanson is convicted of interstate communication of threats to commit violence, he could spend up to five years in prison, and face a fine of $250,000.

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