Markara Man of Norwalk, California was arrested Friday after admitting to investigators he threatened to kill the family of Federal Communication Commission Chairman (FCC) Ajit Pai.
Pai reportedly received three emails from Markara Man, who was furious over the agency’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules.
“One of the emails, sent Dec. 20, to Pai’s government and personal accounts had the subject line “Cheers.” The body of the email listed the names and addresses of three preschools in and around Arlington, Va., where Pai lives, followed by, “I will find your children and I will kill them,” according to the affidavit against Man,” Politico reports.
Additional emails show Man also sent the FCC Chairman a framed photograph of his family and bizarrely blamed him for a child’s death. In May, the 33-year-old came clean about sending the “angry emails,” to Pai.
“They pretty much ignored, like, 80 percent of comments … they ignored ‘us,’ and just didn’t care,” Man — frustrated with the repeal process — explained to investigators. Man subsequently penned a letter to the Chairman seeking forgiveness for sending the unhinged emails.
“I’m sorry I made a threat against your kids. That was crossing the line. I hope you’ll change your mind … but I doubt it,” he wrote.
Man, who was charged in a Virginia Federal Court, faces up to a decade in jail for threatening to kill a U.S. government official and attempting to “interfere with the official’s duties.”
“The FCC voted last year to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules that said all web traffic must be treated equally. It gave internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds,” the Associated Press reports.
In an editorial published at CNET on June 10, Pai said the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order would lead to a more free, open, and fast internet after the net-neutrality laws were repealed. Pai wrote:
I support a free and open internet. The internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone’s permission. And under the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform. Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition.
Pai has previously argued social media and networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter threaten free speech because of their size.
“I love Twitter, and I use it all the time,” the Chairman said last year. “But let’s not kid ourselves; when it comes to an open Internet, Twitter is part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate.”
In the same speech, Pai pointed to Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s pro-life advertisement — blocked by Twitter for “inflammatory speech” — as an example of how Sxilicon Valley stymies free speech.
“Two months ago, Twitter blocked Representative Marsha Blackburn from advertising her Senate campaign launch video because it featured a pro-life message. Before that, during the so-called Day of Action, Twitter warned users that a link to a statement by one company on the topic of Internet regulation ‘may be unsafe,” he said.