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From Ron Swanson to Burger King, everyone has it out for the FCC leader.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has been called “the most hated man on the internet,” and judging by some of the trolling people online have done at his expense, that very well could be true.
Pai has drawn the scorn of the internet as he has led the charge in the FCC repealing net neutrality rules. The rules, which were enshrined in 2015, ensured that all internet traffic is treated equally. Without them, critics say, it opens the door for discrimination and “throttling” of internet content.
The FCC, led by Pai, repealed net neutrality laws late last year despite an intense backlash from the public. Congress is attempting to overturn the FCC’s decision. The Senate voted to overturn the decision earlier this month, and a vote in the House of Representatives is being fought for.
Amid all of this, Pai has been met with scorn from across the internet, with people on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other websites directing their anger his way. There’s even been a massive petition calling for him to resign as the head of the FCC.
While some of the anger cast at Pai is undoubtedly racist, or even dangerous, there have been some savagely funny tweets. Here are the best:
1) Ajit Pai vs. Ron Swanson
This didn’t sit well with actor Nick Offerman, who plays Swanson in the show.
Tagging Pai in a tweet, Offerman said he thought Pai owning a “Pyramid of Greatness” was “strange” given his stance on net neutrality, so he decided to “ask” his character how he felt about it.
Unsurprisingly, the character Offerman plays had similar views.
“I’m flattered that my pyramid of greatness has inspired you,” Offerman wrote in character. “I will remind you that the top category is Honor. Sadly, based on your duplicitous handling of the net neutrality issue, and the way you are willfully ignoring the public you claim to serve, I feel you may need that term defined. Which means, of course, that you don’t have it.”
2) Ajit Pai vs. Burger King
Following the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, the fast-food giant Burger King tried to educate its customers about the consequences of the decision by subjecting people to “fast” and “slow” lanes when they tried to order a Whopper.
The company released an ad showcasing “Whopper Neutrality” where employees told customers they’d have to wait for burgers unless they paid $25.99 for faster service–mirroring what critics say could happen to the internet without net neutrality rules.
The ad didn’t address Pai until the end, when Burger King’s mascot takes a drink from an oversized Reeses Peanut Butter Cups mug similar to the one the FCC chairman has been known to use (and been relentlessly mocked for owning).
3) Ajit Pai vs. Mark Hamill
Not even the biggest name in Star Wars could resist taking a jab at Pai.
Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, poked fun at a video Pai made with the hyper-conservative website the Daily Caller (more on that later) where he does the “Harlem Shake” and wields a lightsaber.
In the video–which the FCC refused to release emails about–Pai holds a blue lightsaber and says the FCC’s net neutrality repeal would still let people “still stay part of your favorite fan community.”
In response, Hamill said the FCC chairman was “profoundly unworthy” to hold a lightsaber, adding: “A Jedi acts selflessly for the common man–NOT lie 2 enrich giant corporations.”
4) Ajit Pai vs. Sen. Edward Markey
While much of the big-name trolling against Pai came before or shortly after the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) came out swinging after the Senate took the first step toward overturning the agency’s decision.
The Senate voted 52 to 47 in early May to pass through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that begins the process of Congress dismantling Pai’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order.
Following the Senate’s vote, Pai called the 52-47 vote a “narrow” victory, adding that he was “confident” the CRA effort would “fail” in the House of Representatives.
In a tweet, Markey reminded Pai that a 52-47 vote should be something he knows well—it’s the same tally of votes that he received when the Senate voted in October 2017 to confirm him to a five-year term as an FCC commissioner.
“Narrow margin? Unfortunately, 52 votes confirmed you as Chairman, @AjitPaiFCC. Today, 52 votes started to take power back for the American people,” Markey wrote.
The internet showered the senator with praise for his Twitter burn.
5) Ajit Pai vs. former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has not been shy about trolling Pai on Twitter.
Clyburn, who recently stepped down from her post, poked fun at the FCC chairman just days before the agency’s vote to repeal net neutrality by posting an edited version of Pai’s proposal to roll back the rules with only a few words still visible.
When read together, they said: “After further review of the record, we affirm the 2015 Open Internet Order.”
In her tweet, Clyburn called the edited version an “alternative proposal” to Pai’s.
But that isn’t the only time the former FCC commissioner has had some Twitter fun at Pai’s expense.
Just a few days after Burger King released its pro-net neutrality ad, Clyburn posted a photo of her holding a mug from the fast food giant—a clear jab at Pai’s Reese’s mug.
Burger King enjoyed the trolling.
6) Ajit Pai vs. the “Harlem Shake” creator
Remember the “Harlem Shake” video Pai starred in? Well, Harry Rodrigues, also known as Baauer–the DJ behind the Harlem Shake–wasn’t thrilled his music was used to promote the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules.
When he learned that the “Harlem Shake” was used by Pai and the Daily Caller, Baauer said he would be “taking action” and vowed to do “whatever I can to stop this loser.”
In a statement to Billboard Dance, Baauer said the song was used without his “consent or council” and was exploring ways to “get it taken down.”
The video was pulled down from YouTube for about seven hours before coming back online.
Baauer isn’t the only one who wasn’t happy with the video. As of late May, the video had 11,000 likes, but more than 270,000 dislikes on YouTube–with many comments blasting Pai for advocating for his net neutrality repeal.
7) Ajit Pai vs. We Rate Dogs
Everyone loves the “We Rate Dogs” Twitter account for its endless stream of dog pictures. But the founder, Matt Nelson, took some time away from posting cute photos to explain how net neutrality was important after he noticed that Pai retweeted something from the @dog_feelings account.
“Ajit follows dog feelings and seems to enjoy it. Who wants to help me craft a sincere DM to him explaining why he shouldn’t ruin the Internet?” Nelson wrote.
What Nelson came up with was an expert trolling of what life could be like without net neutrality.
In a DM to Pai, Nelson wrote that Pai would be eligible to pay $10 per month for the “Pupper Package” of dog thoughts, $25 per month for the “Puppo Package” that was slightly upgraded, or $50 per month for the “Doggo Package” where he would have unlimited access to the @dog_feelings tweets.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).