Man Threatens Merriam-Webster With Violence for Definition of 'Female': DA

A California man allegedly threatened to bomb Merriam-Webster over its definitions for "female" and other terms related to gender.

The U.S. Attorney's office for Massachusetts accused 34-year-old Jeremy David Hanson of making "a multitude" of "anti-LGBTQ" threats to the company over the definitions, which refer to "gender identity."

Hanson allegedly made the threatening messages in October 2021 through the company's "Contact Us" page and in comment sections on the online dictionary using the handle "@anonYmous," the attorney's office wrote in a statement.

The threats forced Merriam-Webster to close its offices in New York City and Springfield, Massachusetts, for about five days, the statement added.

Merriam-Webster threatened over gender definitions
Jeremy David Hanson allegedly made bomb threats against Merriam-Webster over its definition of gender terms including 'female' and 'girl,' federal prosecutors said Friday. Above, a Merriam-Webster dictionary is seen in Niles, Illinois, in November 2003. Tim Boyle/Getty Images

He was charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence. He was released following his initial appearance in court, and is expected to appear back on April 29, the statement said.

"It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda," he allegedly wrote in a comment on the definition of "female." "There is no such thing as 'gender identity.' The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot."

Merriam-Webster initially defines female as "of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs," but a second definition refers to "having a gender identity that is the opposite of male."

The 34-year-old also allegedly made a threatening message, which contained a transphobic slur, through the contact form.

"You 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," he allegedly wrote.

The message continued: "It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive." In a message on October 8, 2021, he allegedly threatened to "bomb your offices for lying and creating fake..." through the contact form. The statement did not reveal the entirety of the message.

The attorney's office noted that they identified "numerous related threats" made to 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.

Other definitions on Merriam-Webster also refer to "gender identity." Girl is defined as "a person whose gender identity is female."

United States attorney Rachael Rollins condemned the alleged threats, writing in the statement: "Hate-filled threats and intimidations have no place in our society."

The threats are among several recent incidents involving threats or violence against the LGBTQ community. In February, a man pleaded guilty to mailing at least 20 letters threatening to shoot, bomb and attack LGBTQ organizations and businesses. He also pleaded guilty to threatening to plant bombs at a 2021 New York City Pride parade.

Last July, a transgender magician was forced to cancel shows at a Wyoming library over threats made against her and library staff.

Newsweek reached out to Merriam-Webster for comment.