California man allegedly threatens to shoot, bomb Merriam-Webster dictionary staff over gender definitions
Merriam-Webster defines “Threat” as “an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage,” and that’s just what the feds accuse Jeremy David Hanson of doing when he allegedly said he would bomb the dictionary’s offices.
The 34-year-old Rossmoor, California, man was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence.
The feds say he sent threatening messages to Merriam-Webster, Inc., the Springfield-based publisher of the best-selling dictionary and popular website, in his alleged fury over the dictionary’s shifts in definitions of gender-related terms.
“I am going to shoot and bomb your offices for lying and creating fake definitions in order to pander to the tranny mafia. Boys aren’t girls, and girls aren’t boys,” Hanson allegedly sent to the dictionary’s “Contact Us” page on Oct. 8, according to a court affidavit. “The only good Marxist is a dead Marxist. I will assassinate your top editor. You sickening, vile tranny freaks.”
The company subsequently shut down their Springfield and New York offices for five business days, according to a court affidavit.
The threatening communications allegedly started six days earlier.
“It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as ‘gender identity,’” Hanson allegedly commented under “Female” on Oct. 2, according to a court document. “The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”
He allegedly did the same for the entry on “Girl,” according to the court doc: “The moron who created this fake definition should be hunted down and shot.”
As of Saturday, the Merriam-Webster.com definition for “Female” includes “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male. The entry on “Girl” checked at the same time includes “a person whose gender identity is female.”
“Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but repeatedly threatening to kill people, as has been alleged, takes it to a new level,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, in a statement. “Threats to life are most certainly not protected speech and they cause real fear in victims.”
Hanson was released on a $25,000 appearance bond to the custody of his mother, who he was already living with, according to the minutes of his initial appearance Wednesday before Magistrate Judge John Early in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Early also ordered that Hanson submit to a mental health evaluation, wear a location monitoring bracelet, make no threatening communications and to have no access to any device that can access the internet.
In interviews with investigators summarized in court documents, his mother said that Hanson is autistic, suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression and is prone to “verbal hyperbole.” She added that his medications had recently changed.
“Hate-filled threats and intimidations have no place in our society,” said Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, in a statement. “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.”
He is also accused of sending threats to the San Francisco-based video game news outlet IGN, a writer at DC comics, various university professors, the U.K.-based Amnesty International and the Walt Disney company, among others.
Hanson is scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson in federal court in Springfield on April 29.