As a result, the Massachusetts-based publishing house closed its offices for a week.
Hanson, 34, was arrested last week and charged with threatening to injure someone using interstate communications. Authorities have accused him of sending “heinous” anti-LGBTQ threats for years to organizations across the country, including Disney, Land O’Lakes, Hasbro and DC Comics, all for “causing fear and division,” according to a statement. from the United States law firm in Massachusetts.
He faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted.
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Federal court records do not show a lawyer for Hanson, and he did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post early Monday. When a journalist called a phone number given to his mother, with whom he lives, the woman who answered hung up. A follow-up call went to the answering machine.
Hanson’s threats struck at several of the lightning rods that have divided Americans over the past few years in the recent recurrence of cultural wars, including sexuality, gender and race-related monuments, mascots and logos.
In an October 2021 interview with the FBI, Hanson said he knew it was illegal to threaten people, apologized for doing so and promised to stop. He told agents he was struggling to control his rage and used the Internet as an outlet.
His mother told agents that her son had been “fixated” on transgender issues and was prone to what she called “verbal hyperbole.” Hanson has been diagnosed with autism and depression, she said, and although they impair his ability to understand the consequences of his actions, she thought he would not act on his threats, “because he is withdrawn, she is monitoring him, and he has no access to weapons. “
The threats date back to at least 2014, and the FBI questioned him as early as 2015 after he allegedly threatened to rape and kill several people. During the initial interview, Hanson was remorseful and promised not to make any more threats, according to court records.
For years he kept that promise. The FBI did not mention any harassment from Hanson between 2015 and 2020.
Then, in April 2020, prosecutors say he responded to an Instagram post from the American Civil Liberties Union – “a shameless party attack that hates freedom, hates America,” according to the message Hanson allegedly sent – as the civil rights organization fought against a legal fight in Missouri over missing ballots.
On February 25, 2021, Hanson reportedly sent a message to Hasbro a few hours after the toy company announced it would drop “Mr.” from his Mr. Potato Head doll. “Hasbro makes everyone feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head trademark and logo to promote equality and inclusion,” the company said at the time, though it later removed that language. from its website.
Hanson accused Hasbro of “pandering to t —- y freaks”, using a derogatory term for transgender people, and threatened to “shoot up and bomb your headquarters,” according to the FBI. In another message, Hanson allegedly added “only pictorially”.
About two weeks later, FBI agents interviewed him about the Hasbro threats. He told agents he was struggling to control himself when he became angry and used the internet to unleash his rage, the court records state. But, he told agents, he never intended to act on his threats.
During the interview, Hanson’s mother said her son had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. While he had been prescribed several psychiatric medications, she said it was difficult to get him to take them as he thought he was fine, the court records say.
FBI agents left Hanson and his mother with an understanding, according to court documents.
“He understood that there was a difference between expressing himself and threatening someone, he agreed that he should find another outlet for his feelings when he got angry about something he saw in the news, and he expressed remorse, that law enforcement had to get involved. “, an FBI agent wrote in a statement.
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In August, however, Hanson reportedly learned that the University of Wisconsin was removing a 42-ton boulder that, when first installed in 1925, was referred to by a nickname containing the n-word.
Hanson sent an email to a local elected official, a black woman, about her role in removing the memorial, according to the FBI. In the email, Hanson allegedly called the councilor for the n-word repeatedly, in addition to several slanders used to demean women. He also told her she deserved “to be raped and lynched for tearing that stone out,” the FBI statement said.
“Insane Marxists like you are destroying America,” he reportedly wrote.
Again, law enforcement used Hanson’s traces of online breadcrumbs to trace the message back to his home, according to the FBI. When Madison police contacted his mother, she told them about her son’s mental health problems and said she remembered he was upset about the monument.
Hanson declined to speak to police, the records add.
In October, he reportedly sent messages to IGN Entertainment and DC Comics after the companies announced that the new Superman was bisexual. He threatened to “shoot up and bomb your headquarters to discriminate against conservatives and silence conservative statements,” using anti-gay slander repeatedly in the eight messages he sent, according to the FBI.
Again, agents interviewed Hanson and his mother in their home. He told them he knows it’s illegal to make online threats, but according to court records, he can not control himself. While his mother serves as “a filter or a sounding board” during the day, he allegedly told agents that he can not speak to her when she goes to bed, which is when he goes on the Internet.
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So he kept sending threats, according to the FBI – to professors at Loyola Marymount University in January, to Amnesty International USA in February and to the University of North Texas in March. Also in March, he reportedly sent a message to Disney “to promote transgender child abuse.”
Finally, at the end of last month, Hanson allegedly used the email address Death2Marxists@gmail.com to send a message to a school board in Wisconsin because of its district’s “including LGBTQ policies.”
“It is now time to declare war on you pedos,” he wrote. “I want to kill you and your whole family.”