Before the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality in December, chairman Ajit Pai made numerous public appearances aimed at contemptuously mocking those who disagree with his proposals—that is, the vast majority of Americans. Now that his plan has passed, it appears that Pai has simply decided to avoid his critics altogether.
"Can't imagine why Ajit Pai wouldn't want to hang out with a bunch of smart tech people who actually understand how the Internet works."
—Fight for the Future
In a move that was condemned as a show of "cowardice," Pai on Wednesday abruptly cancelled his scheduled appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—the largest tech conference of the year—which is set to take place next week.
"Pai has attended CES in Las Vegas for the last five years, and this would have been his first appearance as chairman of the FCC," Business Insider notes.
While Pai did not offer a reason for the cancellation and his office declined to offer any explanation, some commentators went "out on a limb" and suggested that the FCC chair bailed on the conference because "he would've gotten a lot of pointed questions."
Jeremy Kaplan, editor-in-chief on Digital Trends, guessed that Pai cancelled because "he realized that the tech industry kinda despises him."
The advocacy group Fight for the Future, which has launched a campaign urging lawmakers to defend net neutrality from the Republican-controlled FCC's attack, weighed in on Pai's cancellation with a bit of sarcasm of its own:
Major tech companies formed part of a broad and ideologically diverse coalition that for months worked to rally opposition to Pai's plan to repeal net neutrality, which was approved in December by a party-line vote of 3-2.
As Common Dreams reported, polling conducted just days before the FCC's vote found that more than 80 percent of Americans opposed Pai's proposal to gut the net neutrality protections, which has prompted numerous state attorneys general to vow to take legal action.
While Pai will not be in attendance at CES 2018, his FCC colleagues are still planning to host a roundtable discussion, Mashable reports.