Last week, a California man pleaded guilty in a Massachusetts federal court to having threatened to commit anti-LGBTQ+ violence against Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher.
Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, Calif., pled guilty in a plea deal to charges of interstate communication for threatening Merriam-Webster employees, as well as a charge of the same offense against the president of the University of North Texas, the Department of Justice said in an announcement of the plea. Additionally, Hanson admitted to sending threats to various corporations, politicians, and others in a written statement of facts included in his plea agreement. Some of his targets included the Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, the Mayor of New York City, and a New York rabbi and Loyola Marymount University professors. He also targeted Disney, court records state.
Hanson's practice of targeting people was based on their gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation in his threatening communications, he admitted in his pleading.
Hanson was arrested and charged in April and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in May.
"Every member of our community has a right to live and exist authentically as themselves without fear," said United States Attorney Rachel S. Rollins. "Hate motivated threats of violence that infringe upon that right are not tolerated in Massachusetts in any capacity. This conviction represents my office's dedication to protecting targeted communities and bringing accountability and justice when those who aim to endanger act upon their hatred."
Merriam-Webster received several threats and comments against specific gender identities between October 2 and 8 last year, and he submitted them through the "Contact Us" page on Merriam-Webster's website as well as the comments section on its websites under the word entries for "Girl" and "Woman."
A portion of the justice departments statement outlines what happened next:
Hanson used the handle "@anonYmous" to post the following comment on the dictionary's website definition of "female:" "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."
On the "Contact Us" page, Hanson wrote, "[Your] headquarters should be shot up and bombed. It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tranny agenda and altered the definition of 'female' as part of the Left's efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality. 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."
Several days later, Hanson posted another threatening comment on the dictionary's website and a threatening message via the "Contact Us" page:
"I am going to shoot up and bomb your offices for lying and creating fake definitions to pander to the tranny mafia. Boys aren't girls, and girls aren't boys. The only good Marxist is a dead Marxist. I will assassinate your top editor. You sickening, vile tranny freaks," Hanson wrote.
Merriam-Webster closed its Springfield offices in response to the threats.
Authorities later identified the user as Hanson.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in January and faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.