A man alleged to have sent the Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster company threatening messages over dictionary definitions of the words “Girl” and “Woman” was arrested this week.
According to the U.S Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, Jeremey David Hanson, 34, of Rossmoor, California, was charged with one count of interstate communication threats to commit violence in federal court.
Merriam-Webster received threatening messages submitted online through the page’s “contact us” page and in the comments section between October 2 and October 8, 2021, according to the criminal complaint.
On October 2nd, a user by the name of @anonYmous under the dictionary entry for “female” reads: "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"
The company received another message under the entry for “Girl” in less than a week.
"The moron who created this fake definition should be hunted down and shot. I am sick and tired of these cultural Marxists denying science and destroying the English Language. Merriam-Webster headquarters should be shot and bombed. Boys aren't girls," the comment reads.
Rachael Rollins, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said the company closed its Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York offices for approximately five business days out of an abundance of caution.
According to the complaint, authorities traced the origins of the threatening messages back to Hanson’s family home, and the 34-year-old man could face up to five years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine.
The Department of Justice said Hanson allegedly threatened other institutions and individuals, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Land O' Lakes, Hasbro, Inc., IGN Entertainment, the President of the University of North Texas, two professors at Loyola Marymount University and a New York City rabbi.
Hanson is scheduled to appear in federal court in Massachusetts on April 29.