• Sun. Mar 26th, 2023


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Calif. man arrested, charged with threats against Merriam-Webster for gender-inclusive definitions

A California man was arrested and charged with making threats against Merriam-Webster Inc. for the company’s inclusive language around gender, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, California, was arrested and charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence, according to a press release. He has been released ahead of a court date on Friday.

Hanson is accused of leaving threatening comments on Merriam-Webster’s website, as well as sending threatening messages via the company’s “contact us” feature.

The comments left by Hanson were made in October, authorities said.

On Oct. 2, he used the username “@anonYmous” to comment on Merriam-Webster’s dictionary entry for the term “female,” authorities said.

“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,” he allegedly wrote.

It is alleged that in a message sent to Merriam-Webster via the “contact us” function, Hanson wrote the company had altered “the definition of ‘female’ as part of the Left’s efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality.”

“Your headquarters should be shot up and bombed. … 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,” he allegedly wrote.

He later allegedly sent another threatening message, saying he would “bomb your offices for lying.”

In addition to the word “female,” messages to the company were also sent in relation to its entries for “girl” and “woman.”

Because of the threats, Merriam-Webster shut down its Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York City offices for five business days.

Hanson could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  

NBC News was not immediately able to contact Hanson for comment.

The special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division, Joseph R. Bonavolonta, said that everyone has the right to their opinions but that Hanson made repeated threats against the company, which is not a protected right.

“We are always going to pursue individuals who try to intimidate and isolate members of our community by inciting violent, hateful acts,” Bonavolonta said in a statement.