Last Week Tonight host John Oliver is an outspoken advocate for a free and open Internet. So in a web exclusive following his critique of Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai’s plan threatening net neutrality, the comedian gave the Internet a positive update.
Oliver’s Go FCC Yourself website, which he created as a rallying point for commenters to flood the FCC’s website with anti-net neutrality comments, earned over 1.6 million comments. However, some news sources were comically skeptical. (Not to mention the news anchor from Illinois-based WQAD 8 who buried the lead by confusing Oliver with Stephen Colbert.)
Journalist Liz Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon, alleged that the FCC website commenters were spambots, highlighting that approximately 128,000 of the Go FCC Yourself comments used fake names. Oliver made light of this fact by appealing to the logic of spambots, that a free and open Internet is in their best interests – so they should try not to prove the FCC right by spamming the protest.
Oliver also acknowledged that some of the comments were racist, and thereby undermined the movement’s message. “Let me just say, if any of those came from anyone who watches this show, stop it!” he exclaimed, sneaking in a jab at President Trump. “Do not fucking do that! Writing racist things on the Internet is not how you win the net neutrality debate – it’s how you win the presidency.”
The host encouraged viewers to keep commenting in a “civil, clear fashion” so that the Internet can remain unobstructed. The FCC will vote on their net neutrality proposal on Thursday, May 18th, but won’t consider comments submitted in the preceding week (a ridiculous rule, Oliver adds).