Eric Lieberman, DCNF
Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), was reportedly forced to cancel an upcoming appearance at a highly anticipated technology conference after receiving multiple death threats.
Due to the intense debate surrounding internet regulations imposed under the Obama administration’s FCC in 2015, which were couched as a vague principle called “net neutrality,” Pai and the FCC have been engulfed in a stormy situation in the past year.
Recently, Pai was forced to cut his speech on why he thinks repealing net neutrality rules is a good thing for consumers and the country because of a bomb threat at agency headquarters. The ostensible danger was not surprising since people across the internet were constantly unleashing extremely vile and even racist attacks against Pai, including through methods directed at his children outside of his own home.
Now, Pai and his office, according to Recode, apparently feel he should abandon his plans to attend CES, the international Consumer Electronics Show, due to violent threats.
Initially, people and publications across Twitter interpreted his lack of attendance as an act of cowardice.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai suspiciously cancels his CES 2018 visit https://t.co/9CYFtRzFJH
— David Papp (@DavidPapp) January 4, 2018
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) January 4, 2018
— VentureBeat (@VentureBeat) January 3, 2018
Celebrities and journalists have also been feverishly outspoken in support of one side of the debate for quote some time.
“Everything Ajit Pai Has Fucked Up in the Last Three Months,” reads a critical headline from Gizmodo, for example.
“White House Endorses FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s Quest To Murder Net Neutrality,” reads another.
Death threats haven’t been directed at just Pai. Federal authorities are charging a net neutrality supporter for threatening to kill Republican Rep. John Katko and do harm to his family.
Brian Hart, director of the office of media relations at the FCC, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that they “cannot comment on security measures or concerns.”
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