While nearly the entire nation is seething with anger about the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality regulations, the agency’s chairman, Ajit Pai, is having a field day.
On the night before the vote, Pai released a ridiculous video of himself dressed as Santa Claus, waving a lightsaber, and holding a fidget spinner in an attempt to defend his stance using tongue-in-cheek humor.
In the clip, Pai listed off the “7 things you can still do on the internet after net neutrality” all while draped in silly costumes and wielding random props. His list, however, was riddled with sarcasm and included things like, “You can still gram your food” and “You can still ruin memes.”
This off-color stunt was very clearly intended to illustrate that the public’s relationship to the internet won’t be drastically changed by repealing net neutrality regulations.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Pai is known for being personable and friendly, which are traits he evidently attempted to highlight using this video, but there is much more to it than meets the eye.
“His general friendliness can sometimes cover up an agenda that harms consumers," said Chris Lewis, the vice president of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group.
While Lewis isn’t close with Pai, he does recall encounters with him and exchanging pleasantries while they were both staffers for the FCC.
"He's the type of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with, but not the type you'd want to run the Federal Communications Commission," Lewis added.
Needless to say, the video did not come across as funny or cute. In reality, the fact that he was mocking his critics and the public outcry against his war on net neutrality shined bright throughout the entire bit.
Instead of quelling the fears and concerns the public has about the issue, he insulted and poked fun at them. If his effort was, indeed, to sugarcoat his corrupt agenda with a playful skit, he failed miserably.
Pai could soon be getting a taste of his own medicine, though, as he may be facing a lawsuit in the near future for using the "Harlem Shake" song in his video.
According to HuffPost, the song's producer, Harry Rodrigues, also known as Baauer, is considering taking legal action against Pai's unauthorized use of the music for his "You can still ruin memes" scene.
I'm Taking action. Whatever I can do to stop this loser https://t.co/Ajo6wBATdF— Aa (@baauer) December 14, 2017
“I want to be clear that it was used completely without my consent or council," Rodrigues reportedly said in a statement. "My team and I are currently exploring every single avenue available to get it taken down. I support net neutrality like the vast majority of this country and am appalled to be associated with its repeal in anyway.”
But Pai's trolling spree didn't end with the corny, contentious video. On Friday, he appeared on "Fox & Friends," peddling misleading comments about how the internet has not changed in the one day since the agency voted to repeal the regulations.
“Those who've said that the internet as we know it is about to end have been proven wrong starting this morning, as people send emails, check on their Twitter accounts, post on Facebook, and the like,” Pai said. “We have a free and open internet going forward, and the FCC and the FTC going forward are going to make sure that happens.”
The problem with Pai's comments, however, is that they insult the intelligence of the American people. Most, if not all, of us were well aware that nothing would suddenly change overnight.
In fact, it's in the internet service providers' best interests to move slowly so as to dull the effect that internet users feel. If people barely notice any difference, the FCC and ISPs can keep pushing the false narrative that everything is going to be the same.
Furthermore, gradually introducing changes allows them to wait until they are no longer under a microscope, delaying the backlash and scrutiny that awaits them.
But don’t be fooled, some subtle changes have already been implemented, such as Comcast scrubbing several of its key promises from its website.
Here's what @comcast removed from their Net Neutrality page. They no longer promise to:— Jon Henshaw (@henshaw) December 14, 2017
-Not throttle back the speed at which content comes to you
-Not prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes
-Make internet accessible to low income familieshttps://t.co/tRoOTyATYk pic.twitter.com/LqhnwwYSGv
We don't know who Pai thinks he's kidding with these lies, but it certainly isn't us.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Aaron P. Bernstein