Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has canceled his scheduled appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show, reportedly due to death threats.
Recode reports that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has canceled an appearance set for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) due to threats against his life. This isn’t the first time that Pai has received direct threats; past threats occurred during the FCC’s vote on net neutrality in December of 2017 when a bomb threat was called in which resulted in the evacuation of the building. Pai has also been harassed by protesters at his home, who held signs directed at his children. “They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered democracy in cold blood,” stated one sign. “Families … should remain out of it and stop harassing us at our homes,” said Pai on Fox & Friends.
The nature of the current threats against Pai have not yet been made public with a spokesman for the FCC and Pai simply stating, “We do not comment on security measures or concerns.” But according to Recode’s sources, federal law enforcement has stepped in on the matter and are expected to brief other FCC offices about the threats. The FBI has yet to respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the annual trade show based in Las Vegas, also declines to comment on the issue. Gary Shapiro, the leader of the CTA, told Digital Trends that he did not know why Pai had canceled but that he had become “subject to vicious and direct attacks and threats.”
Members of the FCC are still expected to appear at CES including Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Republican Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr. Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting leader of the Federal Trade Commission, will also be appearing at the event. Ohlhausen had previously been set to appear alongside Pai at the event.
A parody video that Pai made alongside conservative news outlet The Daily Caller was also removed from YouTube in December on the grounds of copyright infringement due to the use of the popular “Harlem Shake” song featured in the video. Harlem Shake is one of the most parodied songs in the world due to it becoming a widely popular meme in 2013, at one point during the year uploads of the song on YouTube reached 4,000 per day. The video was reinstated shortly after complaints about the removal were made to YouTube.