• The man allegedly sent Merriam-Webster threatening several messages in October last year
  • He allegedly threatened to bomb the company's offices over the dictionary publisher's definitions for women
  • The suspect claimed in one alleged message that "there is no such thing as gender identity"

A 34-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly threatening to bomb the Merriam-Webster headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts, over the dictionary publisher's definitions for women, federal prosecutors said.

The man was identified as Jeremy David Hanson, of Rossmoor, California. He was charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence for alleged online threats that he sent to the company in October 2021, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, 2021, Hanson allegedly sent the company several threatening messages through its "Contact Us" section on its website, Rachael Rollins, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said. He also allegedly made threats against Merriam-Webster via the comments section on its webpages that corresponded to the word entries for "girl" and "woman."

The alleged threats were serious enough to force Merriam-Webster to close its Springfield and New York offices for five business days, according to Rollins.

"Hate-filled threats and intimidations have no place in our society," Rollins said. "We believe Hanson sent a multitude of anonymous threatening and despicable messages related to the LGBTQ community that were intended to evoke fear and division."

Hanson allegedly used the handle "@anonYmous" to post a threatening message on the dictionary's website definition of "female" on Oct. 2, 2021.

"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 comment read.

In another message sent via the website's "Contact Us" page, Hanson allegedly stated that the company's headquarters should be "shot up and bombed," federal prosecutors said.

"It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive,” he allegedly wrote.

Hanson allegedly posted a similar message on the "Contact us" page on Oct. 8, the attorney's office said.

Hanson allegedly sent similar threatening messages to other companies and individuals, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Land O' Lakes, Hasbro, IGN Entertainment, the president of the University of North Texas, two professors at Loyola Marymount University and a New York City rabbi, according to prosecutors.

"Threats to life are most certainly not protected speech and they cause real fear in victims," said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division.

Hanson was released on conditions following his court appearance in the Central District of California.

He is due to appear in court before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson in federal court in Springfield Friday.

Merriam-Webster said that the development of messenger RNA vaccines required the US dictionary to expand its definition of the word 'vaccine'
Merriam-Webster said that the development of messenger RNA vaccines required the US dictionary to expand its definition of the word 'vaccine' AFP / Karen BLEIER