Hollywood and media stars are lashing out at the Federal Communications Commission, after Chairman Ajit Pai announced on Tuesday the FCC will vote next month to repeal its current net neutrality laws — preventing internet providers from slowing down or “throttling” service for certain competitors.
“Silicon Valley” star Kumail Nanjiani weighed in on the real-life tech impact the decision could have. “Companies will be able to charge more for access to certain sites. Corporations will control the entirety of the internet,” said Nanjiani. “This will change online as we know it, forever.”
The FCC decided in 2015 to reclassify broadband providers as “common carriers,” preventing ISPs from playing favorites or charging competitors higher prices to reach customers. Pai called the decision a “mistake” on Tuesday, and said he would share his proposed repeal on Wednesday. The FCC will vote on the measure on Dec. 14.
“In 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet,” said Pai in a statement. “That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.
Patton Oswalt wasted no time sharing Pai’s contact information, tweeting his email and phone number. Oswalt added “[Pai] wants to destroy #NetNeutrality. Don’t let him.”
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich blasted Pai as President Trump’s “handpicked” chairman, saying “we need to stop this power grab over what we can say and do online.”
Alyssa Milano didn’t mince words on Twitter, saying in all caps “dismantling” net neutrality would be a “HUGE DEAL.”
Comedian Hari Kondabolu tweeted at Pai, telling him to not be associated with the “destruction” of something “vital to free speech & justice.”
The Writers Guild of America West quickly issued a statement against the proposed repeal, saying the FCC has “completely ignored the overwhelming public support for these rules and the unequivocal benefits of an open internet.” More than 22 million public comments were filed on the curtailing of net neutrality, with the majority opposed to pulling it back.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition followed suit, saying Latinos will only be heard “as far as their wallets can carry them” under the “Trump FCC.”
Streaming heavyweight Netflix — which could face higher fees from providers like AT&T and Verizon — said it opposed the FCC’s push to repeal.
And plenty of politicians shared their two cents, with Sen. Angus King, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Sen. Eric Schneiderman all coming out against Pai’s statement on Twitter. Bernie Sanders got in the mix, too.