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