FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement today condemning a death threat allegedly directed to a congressman over net neutrality policy.
Earlier this week, federal prosecutors issued a criminal complaint against Syracuse man Patrick D. Angelo, who was arrested yesterday. The complaint alleges that Angelo left a voicemail last month threatening Rep. John Katko (R-NY) in which he said, “if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill… you… all. Do you understand? I will literally find all… of… you and your progeny and just wipe you from the face of the earth.”
In the statement released today, Pai said he “condemn[ed] in the strongest possible terms any attempts to intimidate government officials with violent threats, and in particular, efforts to target their families.”
The FCC is scheduled to vote next month on its controversial plan to roll back net neutrality protections. Ahead of the vote, which is expected to pass through the commission on party lines, Pai and others have been met with protests. This week, cardboard signs appeared with the names of Pai’s children outside his home, questioning what kind of world they would “inherit.” Pai said in a Fox & Friends interview that protestors had crossed a line with the signs and “should stop harassing us at our homes.”
In statements this week, Pai has lamented the heated discourse around net neutrality policy, saying in remarks “that vitriol in social media seems to suggest that America is more divided than ever.” But he has also used his platform to criticize opponents of his deregulatory effort: in a speech this week, he derided the “out-sized influence” of celebrities and a “cloak” of consumer advocacy he says is used by tech companies to influence the debate.