- A California man got a year in prison over threats to Merriam-Webster and other businesses.
- Jeremy Hanson made threats related to gender, including some related to the definition of “female”.
- Hanson’s lawyers said due to his mental health issues, it’s unlikely he would act on his threats.
A California man who pleaded guilty to making online threats to shoot up and bomb the offices of dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster was sentenced to a year in prison this week.
Jeremy Hanson, 35, was arrested nearly a year ago over his comments to Merriam-Webster on a charge of interstate communication of threats. At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said he also threatened several other brands and organizations online, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Land O’ Lakes, and Hasbro, along with staff members of the University of North Texas and Loyola Marymount University.
Hanson will serve a year in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, during which Hanson’s attorneys suggested restricting him from owning firearms or accessing the Internet on non-monitored devices. They also asked that he continue to receive medication and mental health treatment.
His lawyers argued that he was diagnosed with autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a teenager and that experts determined it is highly unlikely that he would be able to act on the threats, court records show.
They also said that because of the Covid pandemic and suspension of the therapy and other services he used at the time, he spent more time online, consuming content on conspiracy theories that eventually led to the threats.
Hanson used an anonymous account to post threatening responses to new definitions added to words like “female” on Merriam-Webster’s website.
“It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda,” Hanson wrote. “There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”
He also was accused of making threats to bomb or shoot up the dictionary publisher’s headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts, which forced that office and another in New York to close for several days.
“You [sic] headquarters should be shot up and bombed,” Hanson wrote in a message on the site’s Contact Us page. “It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tranny [sic] agenda and altered the definition of ‘female’ as part of the Left’s efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality.”
He continued: “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.”