A California man will face charges after he allegedly made threats against Merriam-Webster, which has its headquarters in Springfield, for making anti-LGBTQ threats against the company.
Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, California, is alleged to have made the threats through the Contact Us page and in the comments section of particular word entries, including those for “girl” and “woman” in October 2021.
“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,” said United States Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Under the dictionary’s definition of “female,” the Department of Justice alleges, Hanson posted, “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.”
Other threats also referenced the LGBTQ community and threatened shootings and bombings of the company’s Springfield offices.
As a result of the threats, Miriam-Webster closed its Springfield and New York offices as a result of the threat.
“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,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph Bonavolonta.
Hanson is scheduled to appear in federal court in Springfield on April 29.