The Man of Steel and his Super Family have faced great threats over the years, and aren’t a stranger to receiving threats but this time it’s the Comic Book Publisher, DC Comics, and the Entertainment News Website, IGN received comments and emails that threatening violence and denigrating LGBTQ people.
According to ICv2’s Brigid Alverson, and an affidavit from the FBI that was filed by FBI Special Agent Casey Anderson in a case involving threats to the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, both companies began receiving threats starting on October 12th, 2021, the day DC announced that Superman’s Son, Jon Kent came out as Bisexual.
On the same day, IGN received eight communications that day, both e-mails and comments through its website, threatening violence and denigrating LGBTQ people. “I am going to shoot up and bomb your headquarters for discriminating against conservatives and silencing conservative speech,” one of the messages read. “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat. I will kill you all for discriminating against and silencing me for criticizing the radical homosexual agenda.”
Then, on October 16th, a writer for DC (who was unnamed in the affidavit) reported receiving Facebook messages from a Facebook user named Jeremy Hanson threatening to kill him, rape and decapitate his wife, and blow up DC headquarters. The affidavit also states that several e-mail addresses associated with DC received e-mails with the subject line “I am going to shoot up and bomb your offices for ruining Superman” that contained several other threats.
On October 27th, in an interview with FBI agents, Hanson admitted to making threatening remarks online to IGN and DC regarding the sexual orientation of Superman. He also said that he suffers from several conditions, including “obsessive-compulsive disorder, Aspergers, anxiety, and depression, and he struggles with impulse control,” and that while he knows making online threats is illegal, he is “unable to control himself or his emotions.”
The Affidavit also included accounts of several interviews with Hanson’s mother, who told investigators that her son had developmental disorders and had been stressed due to the coronavirus and changes in his medications. However, the affidavit paraphrased her as saying “he poses no threat to the community because he is reclusive, she supervises him, and he has no access to weapons.”
Special Agent Anderson filed the affidavit to support a criminal case against Hanson, charging him with making threats to Merriam-Webster that caused the dictionary publisher to shut down its offices for five days. The affidavit also enumerated threats to the ACLU, Amnesty International, Hasbro Toys, Walt Disney, Inc., and others that the FBI traced to IP addresses, e-mail accounts, and a cell phone number that were linked to Hanson.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Hanson has been charged with one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence in the Merriam-Webster case. He was arrested in California on April 20th and released with conditions. He will appear before the federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts (where Merriam-Webster is located) on April 29th.
In this case, and with the recent rise of Anti-Semitic, Anti-LGBTQIA, Xenophobic, and Racism, Hanson is one of many who have been affected by the rise of misinformation, hateful rhetoric, and mental health stigma. It has spread like a wildfire with the help of the very rich, political leaders, and old ideas that are passed down through generations that need to be tackled with common sense and clarity, we cannot give hate the power it has held for centuries and throughout history. It has to be addressed with compassion, inclusion, education, and respect.
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