A Trump supporter was arrested for sending death threats to the people who work on the Merriam Webster dictionary because he didn’t like their definitions.
Jeremy David Hanson, 34, of Orange County, California allegedly sent messages through the Merriam Webster website’s “Contact Us” page where he threatened to bomb their offices.
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The definitions that angered him the most? “Girl,” “female,” and “woman.”
“It is absolutely sickening that Merriam Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda,” he wrote in the comments under the word “female” this past October. “There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’”
“The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.”
Merriam Webster has 10 definitions of “female” as an adjective and three as a noun. The one that Hanson was probably referring to was “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.”
In a message sent to Merriam Webster, he allegedly wrote: “You headquarters should be shot up and bombed. It is sickening that you have caved to the cultural Marxist, anti-science tr**ny 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. It would be poetic justice to have someone storm your offices and shoot up the place, leaving none of you commies alive.” [sic]
He allegedly sent another message through the Contact Us webpage where he said he would “bomb your offices for lying and creating fake…”
Merriam Webster’s offices in Massachusetts and New York City were closed for five days as the threats were investigated.
“We are always going to pursue individuals who try to intimidate and isolate members of our community by inciting violent, hateful acts,” said FBI Boston Division spokesperson Joseph R. Bonavolonta. “Threats to life are most certainly not protected speech and they cause real fear in victims.”
Hanson, who The Daily Beast identified as a Trump supporter from southern California, has made similar threats in the past. After Land O’ Lakes butter announced that it would remove a picture of a Native American woman from its packaging in 2020, Hanson allegedly wrote on their Instagram account: “Land O Lakes headquarters deserve to be shot up and bombed for turning into a cultural Marxist company that panders to political correctness.”
And after DC published a Superman comic book where the hero was bisexual, Hanson allegedly emailed several DC employees: “I am going to shoot up and bomb your offices for ruining Superman.”
“First, you turn him into a fa***t,” he allegedly wrote. “Now, you make him anti-American. You fucking Marxist pieces of shit. I will make you pay.” He also wrote he would kill the publisher of DC and “rape and murder his wife.”
In a Facebook message to DC, he wrote that he would “EXTERMINATE you cultural Marxists destroying America” and “DECAPITATE YOU FOR MAKING SUPERMAN GAY,” ending his message with “TRUMP 2024.”
Definitions have long been a battleground for LGBTQ equality, with anti-LGBTQ activists often accusing LGBTQ people of violating the definitions of words.
For example, many opponents of marriage equality spent years in the 2000s and 2010s arguing that they only cared about the integrity of the definition of the word “marriage” as states passed constitutional amendments to define the word “marriage” as between a man and a woman.
Merriam Webster defines words based on their real-world usage. Despite conservative misgivings about defining “female” and “male” as gender identities, people do frequently use those words to refer to gender identities.