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California man who made threats against Merriam-Webster gets 1 year in prison

A California man has been sentenced to a year in prison for threatening dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster over its gender-inclusive definitions.

Jeremy Hanson, 35, was arrested in 2022 for sending the company threatening messages over their new definitions of the words “girl,” “woman” and “female” and sent the company threatening messages.

“It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda,” Hanson wrote in the 2021 messages, according to prosecutors.

“There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”

Hanson appeared for the trial in federal court in Massachusetts, where the company is based, remotely.

He was also given 30 days of home confinement, three years of probation and ordered to undergo mental health treatment.

The Rossmoor, California resident contacted the publisher through its website and said he was “going to shoot up and bomb” its offices, which forced the company’s Massachusetts and New York City locations to shutter for five days.

Hanson pleaded guilty in September to two counts of interstate communication of threatening communications to commit violence.

Merriam Webster dictionary definition of girl
Jeremy Hanson had a problem with the dictionary’s definitions of “girl,” “woman” and “female.”

Arrested man in handcuffs with hands behind back.
Hanson also threatened the president of the University of North Texas.
Shutterstock / Brian A Jackson

His defense attorney, Marissa Elkins, cited her client’s history of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder and noted that additional time spent behind bars could negatively affect his mental health.

Hanson also threatened the president of the University of North Texas and wrote him an email saying, “You ought to be shot in the head and have your offices set on fire,” for his support of transgender students, prosecutors said.

“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,” US Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said in a statement.

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