Calif. man facing charges for violent threats sent to Merriam-Webster over gender-related definitions

A California man has been arrested Tuesday after allegedly sending anonymous messages to Merriam-Webster in which he threatened to bomb and “shoot up” the company’s offices over changes to gender-related dictionary definitions.

“Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, Calif., was charged by criminal complaint with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, 2021, the criminal complaint alleges, Hanson sent various threats and comments that demonstrated “bias against specific gender identities” to the Springfield, Mass. -based Merriam-Webster via the company’s “Contact Us” webpage. The complaint also claims Hanson left messages “in the comments section on its webpages that corresponded to the word entries for ‘Girl’ and ‘Woman.'”

Using the handle “@anonYmous,” says the DOJ, Hanson allegedly posted a comment on the dictionary’s online definition of “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.”

Using the “Contact Us” page, Hanson also allegedly sent the company a message that read, “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.”

Furthermore, the complaint alleges that, on Oct. 8, 2021, Hanson sent a message threatening to “bomb your offices for lying and creating fake…”.

Hanson was later identified as the sender, after the threats prompted Merriam-Webster to close its Springfield and New York City offices for approximately five business days.

According to the DOJ statement, the investigation “identified numerous related threats, including to 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 United States Attorney Rachael S. 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.”

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta said Hanson “crossed a line.”

“Jeremy Hanson is accused of making hate-fueled threats of violence that crossed a line,” he stated. “Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but repeatedly threatening to kill people, as has been alleged, takes it to a new level. We are always going to pursue individuals who try to intimidate and isolate members of our community by inciting violent, hateful acts.”

“Threats to life are most certainly not protected sppech and they cause real fear in victims,” Bonavolonta continued. “Rest assured, the FBI will do everything we can to bring to justice anyone who commits these criminal acts.”

Hanson was conditionally released and will appear in federal court Friday, the Washington Examiner reports. If found guilty, he faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

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