BOSTON — A California man was arrested on Tuesday, April 20, 2022, and charged in federal court in Springfield, Mass. for uttering threats against Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, Calif., has been charged by a criminal complaint with an interstate communications count of threatening to commit acts of violence. Hanson was conditionally released following an initial appearance in federal court in the Central District of California. Hanson will appear before U.S. District Court Judge Katherine A. Robertson in federal court in Springfield on April 29, 2022.
“Hateful threats and intimidation have no place in our society,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We believe Hanson sent a slew of threatening and despicable anonymous messages related to the LGBTQ community that were intended to evoke fear and division. My office and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate threats against members of our communities, no matter what corner of the internet they come from. The perpetrators will be identified, arrested and held accountable in federal court.
“Jeremy Hanson is charged with uttering hate-motivated threats of violence that crossed a line,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston division. “Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but repeatedly threatening to kill people, as has been alleged, takes it to a new level. We will always prosecute individuals who attempt to intimidate and “isolate members of our community by inciting acts of violence and hate. Threats to life are certainly not protected speech and they cause real fear in victims. Rest assured that the FBI will do all in its power power to bring to justice anyone who commits these criminal acts.”
According to the criminal complaint, between October 2 and October 8, 2021, Springfield-based Merriam-Webster, Inc. received various threatening messages and comments demonstrating bias against specific gender identities submitted through the “Contact Us” page. us” of her website and in the comments section on her web pages that matched word entries for “Girl” and “Woman.” Authorities later identified the user as Hanson. Following the threats, Merriam-Webster closed its Springfield and New York offices for about five business days.
Specifically, it is alleged that on October 2, 2021, Hanson used the handle “@anonYmous” to post the following comment on the dictionary website’s definition of “woman”: “It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster is now saying blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. “Gender identity” does not exist. The fool who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.
Hanson also allegedly sent the following threatening message via the website’s “Contact Us” page: “You [sic] the headquarters should be shot down and bombarded. It’s sickening that you gave in to cultural Marxism, anti-science tranny [sic] the 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.
It is further alleged that on October 8, 2021, Hanson posted another threatening comment on the dictionary’s website and a threatening message via the “Contact Us” page which threatened to “bomb your offices for lying and creating false …”.
The investigation identified numerous related threats, including against the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Land O’ Lakes, Hasbro, Inc., IGN Entertainment, the president of the University of North Texas, two professors of Loyola Marymount University and a representative from New York. City rabbi.
Individuals or entities who believe they are victims of this crime should contact the US Attorney’s Office at (888) 221-6023.
The charge of interstate transmission of communications to injure the person of another carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of probation and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and the laws that govern sentencing in a criminal case.