John Oliver’s Net Neutrality Campaign Filled With Bots, Fake Comments, Racist Attacks Against FCC Chairman

Obscene and racist messages posted against Ajit Pai

John Oliver

John Oliver / Getty Images

BY:

John Oliver's "grassroots" activism against Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is full of bot accounts, fake comments, and death threats against the chairman.

Oliver, the comedian who once took credit for spurring the Obama administration to adopt net neutrality, is once again turning to his millions of viewers of his HBO show for "grassroots activism," as Chairman Pai is readying the agency to reverse the policy.

However, an analysis of comments to Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom filing, which Oliver has dubbed "Go FCC yourself," shows thousands of comments using fake names and bots posing as "Jesus Christ," "Michael Jackson," "Homer Simpson," and "Melania Trump."

For instance, as of Tuesday evening, there were 1,761 comments filed under the name "John Oliver," 998 separate comments using the name "Yoni Schwartz," and 611 comments filed using "1" as the name.

Over 500 were submitted using Chairman Pai's name, as well as 189 from "Donald Trump" and 8 from "Obama."

Eleven submissions used some version of the word "f–k."

Pai also received death threats in several submissions. One commenter said, "[F]—k you Ajit Pai for what you're are trying to do and I hope you die a horrible painful death with no remembrance to your name you cocksucka [sic]."

Another said failure to keep net neutrality would "cause me to pray for the slow and painful death of Chairman Ajit Pai and every living member of his family, direct or indirect."

"Save internet and fuck this Ajit guy," said another. "He's from India, deport that asshole. We will take care of him when he's back."

Other comments used racial attacks against Pai, the son of Indian immigrants.

"Can you guys stop being complete greedy little s–ts and work for the American people and not for your wallets," said one commenter using the name " Andromeda Titan." "Also, f–k you Ajit Pai (a disgrace to all Indians). And f–k Trump too."

Another commenter said, "Ajit Pai looks and sounds like an Indian fraternity brother who exclusively f–ks underage women."

"Ajit Pai looks like the lone Indian who rushed an all white bro frat and only got in because they needed someone to clean up after their weekend bender," said another, who added, "It's not racist because I'm Indian and white privilege absolutely exists."

Oliver dedicated his Last Week Tonight show on Sunday to attacking Pai for seeking to reverse net neutrality, a policy that expanded the federal government's control over Internet service providers.

The FCC said it was the victim of multiple distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks Sunday night, which were "deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC's comment system."

Oliver had directed his viewers to www.gofccyourself.com, which redirects to the FCC website for users to comment on the filing.

The domain for the website lists Google as the registrar, and the address 96 Mowat Avenue, the address of an internet services Canadian company Tucows.

The liberal advocacy group Fight for the Future has been linked to Tucows in the past in comment campaigns. Over 85,000 identical comments were posted to the Regulations.gov website to protest the Digital Millennium Copyright Act last year. Fight for the Future took credit for crashing the Regulations.gov website with 100,000 comments.

The website for that campaign was also registered to Tucows, which lists Fight for the Future as one of its causes on its website.

Request for comment from Fight for the Future and Tucows were not immediately returned.

Elizabeth Harrington   Email Elizabeth | Full Bio | RSS
Elizabeth Harrington is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Elizabeth graduated from Temple University in 2010. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she worked as a staff writer for CNSNews.com. Her email address is elizabeth@freebeacon.com. Her Twitter handle is @LizWFB.

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