IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

A man who threatened Merriam-Webster over gender-inclusive definitions was sentenced to prison

Jeremy David Hanson, 34, made the comments over the dictionary’s definition of “female,” and called them Marxists who should be killed.
Merriam-Webster, Inc. in Springfield, Mass.
Merriam-Webster, Inc. in Springfield, Mass.Google Maps

A California man who threatened to bomb and shoot people at Merriam-Webster Inc. over the dictionary company’s inclusive language around gender was sentenced to prison Thursday, prosecutors said.

Jeremy David Hanson, 34, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement Friday.

His attorney, Marissa Elkins, said that with time already served and other credits, Hanson should serve about four additional months in prison.

In 2021 Hanson used the dictionary’s “contact us” feature on its website to say that he was “going to shoot up and bomb your offices” and called them Marxists, in addition to other threatening comments, officials said.

Hanson was charged in April 2022 and in September pleaded guilty to two counts of interstate communication of threatening communications to commit violence.

In addition to threats directed at the Springfield, Mass., dictionary company, Hanson threatened the president of the University of North Texas.

The threats were driven by bias against the LGBTQ community and hatred, prosecutors and the FBI said.

Hanson threatened the university president in a March 2022 email after students there protested against a political candidate who wanted to outlaw medical procedures for transgender children, according to court documents.

“I will personally go to your university and start executing tyrannical leftist students and faculty who oppress conservatives. The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” he wrote in that case.

The threats against Merriam-Webster prompted the company to close its offices in Massachusetts and New York City for five days.

“Hate motivated acts of any kind will never be tolerated in our Commonwealth and perpetrators — including those who think they can hide behind a keyboard need to know we will find you and prosecute you,” U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said in a statement.

Elkins, Hanson’s attorney, said that Hanson has significant mental health issues.

She said the sentence was fair and that conditions after he’s released will ensure he "has the treatment and resources he needs to never engage in this conduct again."

The judge sentenced Hanson to three years of supervised release after the prison term.

The charges stem from the threats to Merriam-Webster and the University of North Texas.

As part of a plea deal Hanson admitted to making threats to others, including Walt Disney Co., professors at Loyola Marymount University, and toy company Hasbro, among others, officials said.