FCC chairman Ajit Pai cancels CES appearance over death threats

(Image: © Getty Images / John Lamparski)

The organizers of CES announced this week that FCC chairman Ajit Pai will not be making his scheduled appearance at the show in Las Vegas next week. A report by Recode now reveals that Pai's cancellation was prompted by death threats arising from his role in undoing net neutrality protections that were put in place during the Obama administration.

Pai has been the target of anger over recent months not just because of his stance against net neutrality, but also due to his condescending and dismissive attitude toward those who claim that its loss will be harmful to consumers. A month ago, he came under fierce fire after a leaked video from an FCC's correspondence dinner showed him joking with a Verizon executive about being a brainwashed shill for Verizon. Pai also faced a nasty backlash after he made claims that keeping net neutrality would hurt the sick and disabled.

Specifics of the threats haven't been revealed, but federal law enforcement agencies have "intervened" in the matter, and other FCC offices are expected to be briefed on it. This isn't the first threat to be directed at Pai in recent weeks: The vote to eliminate net neutrality was interrupted by a bomb threat that was ultimately determined to be a hoax.

The debate over net neutrality has been raging on since Pai assumed his role as FCC chairman and took a stance opposite that of previous chairman Tom Wheeler, a champion of FCC protections under President Obama. Despite an overwhelming amount of protest leading up to the FCC's vote, the agency moved to kill net neutrality in December.