Metro Weekly

California Man Arrested After Multiple Threats Against Dictionary

Suspect allegedly lodged multiple threats against Merriam-Webster headquarters for "transgender-friendly" definitions in its dictionary.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. (Creative Commons photo:Noah1806)

A California man was recently arrested for threatening to murder and bomb employees at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary over the reference book’s definition of “girl” and “woman.”

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, 34-year-old Jeremy David Hanson of Rossmoor, California, sent a series of threats to the dictionary company from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, 2021.

The messages, sent through the company’s website and in the comments section on its webpages, repeated disturbing violent threats, such as saying employees should be “hunted down and shot,” that the office should be “bombed,” and used derogatory slurs against LGBTQ people.

Law enforcement authorities later identified the user who had made the threats as Hanson. As a result of the threats, Merriam-Webster closed its offices in Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York City for approximately five business days.

While the specific reasons for Hanson becoming so enraged aren’t exactly clear, he generally took issue with more “transgender-friendly” definitions of “female” and woman” in the dictionary. On Oct. 2, 2021, Hanson, using the handle @anonYmous, allegedly wrote, “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.”

Hanson also allegedly sent a threatening message via the website’s “Contact Us” page: “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.”

“Jeremy Hanson is accused of making hate-fueled threats of violence that crossed a line,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta said in a statement published by the United States Attorney’s Office on April 22. “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.”

Currently, Hanson is facing a charge of “interstate transmission of communications to injure the person of another,” which could lead to a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a $250,000 fine.

But he could soon face additional charges, as “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,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

These threats from Hanson, while shocking and unsettling, are hardly the isolated outbursts of an hateful individual. With the recent string of anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender legislation advancing through many state governments across the country, the political climate has created an atmosphere where anti-trans animus is not only more common, but even condoned in some circles.

However, the law enforcement officials who assisted in the arrest of Hanson seem dedicated to quelling such hateful violence.

“Hate-filled threats and intimidations have no place in our society,” United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said in the April 22 statement. “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.”

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