Man threatened Merriam-Webster over gender definitions

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A California man admitted to sending death threats to Merriam-Webster employees over the dictionary’s definition of gender in a vicious anti-trans rant that forced the company to temporarily close its offices in Massachusetts and New York for five days nearly a year ago.

Jeremy David Hanson, from Rossmoor, Calif., pleaded guilty last week to making threats to commit anti-LGBTQ violence against several individuals and businesses, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Walt Disney Company.

The 34-year-old was arrested in April and indicted by a grand jury two months later. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mass. to one count of interstate communication of threatening communications to commit violence, a federal crime.

He also pleaded guilty to another count charging the same offense, which had been initially filed in the Eastern District of Texas, targeting the president of the University of North Texas, Justice Department officials said in a statement Wednesday.

Authorities say that in early October 2021, employees at the Merriam-Webster’s headquarters in Springfield, Mass., received several threatening messages and hateful comments showing clear anti-transgender bias.

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According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 2 Hanson allegedly used the handle “@anonYmous” to post the following comment on the dictionary’s website 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.”

(Jenny Kane/AP)

On another occasion, Hanson allegedly used the website’s “contact us” page to post the following threat: “You (sic) headquarters should be shot up and bombed. It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science [transgender] 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.”

In another message shared via the “contact us” page, Hanson allegedly threatened to “bomb your offices for lying.”

As part of his plea agreement, Hanson also admitted to sending threatening messages to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a New York rabbi, as well as professors at Loyola Marymount University.

In a sworn statement, he admitted that he often selected his targets based on people’s gender, gender identity and/or sexual orientation, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins.

“Jeremy Hanson is now a convicted felon after admitting to making hate-fueled threats of violence related to the LGBTQ+ community,” Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said Wednesday in a news release.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled his sentencing for Jan. 5, 2023. The charge of interstate transmission of threatening communications can lead to a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.



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