Suffice it to say, FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t exactly a popular guy these days, and for good reason. Pai’s concerted effort to overturn net neutrality regulations put into place during the Obama administration was met with impassioned resistance from all angles. What’s more, Pai was taken to task for continually refusing to answer pointed questions and valid concerns about the consequences that would result from repealing net neutrality. Making matters worse, Pai’s talking points regarding the benefits of eradicating net neutrality often amounted to clumsily vague promises about increased innovation.
Incidentally, Pai was scheduled to appear on a panel at CES next week for a “candid conversation.” In turn, many were hoping, perhaps naively, that Pai would finally address many of the longstanding net neutrality concerns he conveniently ignored over the past few weeks. Alas, word has since surfaced that Pai has officially cancelled his scheduled CES appearance
No concrete reason was given for Pai’s departure, though the Consumer Technology Association issued the following statement on the matter to The Verge.
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.
So yeah, there’s not much meat there, but it stands to reason that Pai thought it best to avoid a real and potentially heated discussion on the matter with the public. Incidentally, it’s become something of a tradition in recent years for the FCC chairman to make an appearance at CES, a fact which makes Pai’s abrupt cancellation all the more curious.
Update: Recode is reporting that Pai’s cancelled CES appearance is the result of death threats being made against him.