Tell Democratic leaders:
Condemn the homophobic attacks on FCC nominee Gigi Sohn
Remember when Ajit Pai took over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and gutted net neutrality? We’ve been working for years to overturn that corrupt move, and we finally got our chance when the Biden administration nominated Gigi Sohn, a highly qualified public interest advocate who, unlike Pai, has never worked for the telecom industry.
But Sohn has been awaiting Senate confirmation for over two years (Ajit Pai was confirmed in a matter of months.) She’s been subjected to a massive telecom-funded smear campaign precisely because she’s pledged to support non-controversial public goods, like ensuring affordable Internet access, restoring net neutrality, and protecting online privacy.
Now these attacks have reached a new low. Net neutrality opponents are trying to undermine Gigi Sohn’s nomination by openly attacking her sexuality. In recent days, outlets like Fox News, The Daily Mail, and Breitbart have launched a slew of dangerous and false attacks that peddle in Qanon style conspiracy theories and homophobic tropes. The articles falsely claim Sohn has “opposed” efforts to combat sex trafficking because… wait for it… she sits on the board of the highly respected Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF has opposed dangerous and misguided legislation like SESTA/FOSTA, which experts have warned for years actually makes it harder to combat sex trafficking while wreaking havoc on online free speech.
But here’s the worst part: it’s been several days since telcom backed bigots launched these fact-free, blatantly homophobic attacks on Gigi Sohn, and Senate Democrats and the White House, who should be defending Sohn, have been shamefully silent. If they don’t speak up now and condemn these attacks, this will become a go-to strategy for bigots looking to sink any LGBTQ person’s nomination. We can’t let that happen.
Sign the petition: “We call on Democratic leadership, including the White House, Chair Cantwell of the Commerce Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to immediately condemn the homophobic attacks on Gigi Sohn and commit to confirming her as soon as possible.”
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the principle that everyone should have access to websites and apps, preventing Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon from creating “fast lanes,” censoring content, throttling traffic and even outright blocking access to their competitor's products. This principle has guided the world wide web from the beginning, and has been protected by federal policy under Republican AND Democrat leadership since the early 2000s.
For a long time, Internet providers ignored this policy and did all they could to destroy net neutrality protections. Finally, after massive public outcry, the Obama FCC issued the Open Internet Order in 2015. But in 2017, Trump’s FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, repealed these regulations, putting Internet providers back in control of what we can and can’t access online.
Since then there have been a slew examples of how why we need net neutrality: Verizon throttled traffic for California firefighters during massive wildfires, putting people in danger; ISPs have decided to leave poor, rural, and communities of color behind by cutting them out of broadband expansion; and other Internet providers have charged bogus fees and forced customers to watch advertisements in order to get online. And as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the U.S., people were at the mercy of Internet companies to get online to work, go to school, and access lifesaving information. Repealing net neutrality has given Internet providers the power to decide whether we can get online or not.
Throughout all this we’ve kept fighting. A federal court ruling has opened up a path for net neutrality laws at the state and national level. California passed a gold-standard net neutrality law at the state level, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution to undo the FCC’s repeal, and Congress introduced the Save the Internet Act that can enshrine net neutrality into law once and for all.
In order to win back net neutrality protections for everyone, we need to push the FCC to reinstate the Open Internet Order, and then we need to get Congress to pass legislation that will protect net neutrality once and for all. This is our battle.
The Path to Victory
- 2015 Obama FCC issued the Open Internet Order
- 2017 Trump’s FCC Chair, Ajit Pai, repealed these regulations
- Step 1:
Push Biden administration to appoint a champion for net neutrality as the fifth FCC commissioner
- Step 2:
Get Senate to confirm FCC nominees quickly
- Step 3:
Demand FCC reinstates net neutrality
- Step 4:
Pressure Congress to enshrine net neutrality into law