Man admits threatening dictionary over gender definitions
Last week, a California man pleaded guilty in federal court in Massachusetts to threatening to commit anti-LGBTQ+ violence against Merriam-Webster, the publisher of the dictionary.
Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, Calif., pleaded guilty in a plea deal to charges of interstate communication for threatening employees of Merriam-Webster, as well as a charge of the same offense against the president from the University of North Texas, the Justice Department said in a plea announcement. Additionally, Hanson admitted to sending threats to various businesses, politicians and others in a written statement of facts included in his plea agreement. Some of his targets included Governor Gavin Newsom of California, the Mayor of New York, a New York rabbi, and professors from Loyola Marymount University. He also targeted Disney, according to court records.
Hanson’s practice of targeting people was based on their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation in his threatening communications, he admitted in his closing argument.
Hanson was arrested and charged in April, then indicted by a federal grand jury in May.
“Every member of our community has the right to live and exist authentically without fear,” said U.S. Attorney Rachel S. Rollins. “Threats of hate-motivated violence that violate this right are by no means tolerated in Massachusetts. This condemnation represents my office’s commitment to protecting targeted communities and bringing accountability and justice when those who seek to endanger act on their hatred.”
Merriam-Webster received several threats and comments against specific gender identities between October 2 and October 8 last year, and he submitted them through the “Contact Us” page on Merriam-Webster’s website as well than the comments section on her websites under the word entries for “Girl” and “Woman”.
Part of the Justice Department statement describes what happened next:
‘gender identity.’ The fool who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”
On the “Contact Us” page, Hanson wrote: “[Your] the headquarters should be shot down and bombarded. It is sickening that you have given in to the Marxist, anti-science cultural agenda and changed the definition of “woman” as part of left-wing efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality. You evil Marxists should all be killed. It would be poetic justice for someone to storm your offices and shoot down the place, leaving none of you commies alive.”
A few days later, Hanson posted another threatening comment on the dictionary’s website and a threatening message via the “Contact Us” page:
“I will shoot and bombard your offices for lying and creating false definitions to pander to the transgender mafia. Boys aren’t girls, and girls aren’t boys. The only good Marxist is a dead Marxist. I am going to assassinate your editor in chief. You sickening, vile trans monsters,” Hanson wrote.
Merriam-Webster closed its Springfield offices in response to the threats.
Authorities later identified the user as Hanson.
He is expected to be sentenced in January and faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.