Las Vegas’ annual Consumer Electronics Show—a yearly tech-obsessive pilgrimage to the planet’s shiniest lights and most expensive cellular phones—arrives next weekend, and, with it, the chance for FCC chairman (and now-triumphant net neutrality opponent) Ajit Pai to fulfill his apparent dream of being an unwanted addition to ever-bigger and louder rooms. Sadly, though, it sounds like Pai will miss out on this sterling opportunity to really stretch his capacity to be loathed, with Variety reporting that he’s abruptly canceled his plans to attend this year’s CES.
Pai was meant to be talking on an open panel with opposite number at the FTC, acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, and Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the company that runs the annual tech expo. Those plans were abruptly canceled today, though, with Pai’s office refusing to comment on the decision.
The FCC chairman is currently in a tricky position of playing defense after years of being on the attack. He openly crowed at opponents targeting his efforts to peel back regulations on how internet service providers can control the flow of customers’ data, but has now been forced to fend off a number of challenges to his position, including state attorneys who’ve said they intend to challenge the move in court, and numerous members of Congress looking to reinstate the previous rules. His CES talk would, inevitably, have probably ended up addressing those concerns, loudly, which might explain why he ultimately backed out. (Or hey, maybe he just decided to stay in this weekend and work on his Harlem Shake).