With less than a week before this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Chairman of the Federal Communications Comission Ajit Pai has decided to bail on a scheduled appearance.
Pai—whose name is now synonymous with the Trump administration’s deeply unpopular goal of repealing net neutrality, and smirking toadyism writ large—was slated for a CES “SuperSession” that would have involved “candid conversations” with acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Maureen K. Ohlhausen and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association Gary Shapiro.
Shapiro sent around the following statement, which does not mention if the FTC and CTA plan to go ahead with the session, sans-Pai:
Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018. We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience.
Pai has consistently attended CES for half a decade. We’ve reached out to the FCC for comment on why its chairman was not available.
Update 1/4/18 4:51pm ET: In reply to an inquiry last night, an FCC spokesperson told Gizmodo that “We don’t have anything to share at this time.” Pretty standard response. However, two FCC sources speaking to Recode claim the reason for Pai’s abrupt cancellation is related to an uptick in death threats against the chairman since his vote to repeal net neutrality.