Federal Communications Bar Association Dinner: Ajit Pai roasts himself

Author: 

As attendees of the telecom industry's premier social gathering were escaping the 44-degree chill and entering the Washington Hilton, several dozen net-neutrality protesters chanted outside. Across the street, on an exterior wall of the Courtyard Marriott, the activists projected in giant lettering, "No Slow Lanes. Open & Equal Internet For All."

The annual Federal Communications Bar Association Dinner in Washington and the nearby demonstrations served as a striking visual contrast on Dec 7. Inside: Sonoma County wine, shrimp and bacon chowder and stand-up comedy. Outside: handmade signs, earnest pleas and the cold. As the guest speaker of the chairman's dinner, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Pai seized on the outrage directed at his plans and others. In a roast of himself and the entire telecom industry, he delivered roughly 30 minutes of jokes to a ballroom filled with more than 130 tables of lobbyists, lawyers and journalists who had just been served bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin.

“First, I want to thank all of you for coming tonight,” he began. “After all, we only have seven more days to use the Internet,” he said, to big laughs and applause in the audience, referring to the Dec. 14 FCC meeting when he is expected to vote alongside his fellow Republican commissioners to repeal net neutrality. “You think I'm joking. It's true. I read it on the Internet.”


Federal Communications Bar Association Dinner: Ajit Pai roasts himself