FCC head Ajit Pai skips CES tech show after threats: reports

NEW YORK - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai reportedly is skipping the upcoming CES gadget show because of death threats.

Led by Pai, the FCC in December scrapped "net neutrality" rules that had barred broadband providers like AT&T (T), Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) from interfering with internet traffic. 

Amid considerable criticism of that move, the policy's supporters have reacted strongly. Pai and his staff have reported racist tweets and death threats against the chairman. The Dec. 14 vote was halted for unidentified security reasons, with a brief evacuation and search of the hearing room.

Pai was supposed to speak on a CES panel in Las Vegas next week. The Wall Street Journal, tech blog Recode and others reported the death threats, citing unidentified people.

The FCC confirmed his withdrawal, but spokesman Brian Hart says the agency doesn't comment on security measures or concerns.

Pai was scheduled to sit down Tuesday with the head of the Federal Trade Commission, fellow Republican Maureen Ohlhausen, for a discussion moderated by Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro, according to CNET.

The net neutrality rules, were were adopted in 2015 under the Obama administration, sought to ensure that broadband providers treated didn't slow or block online content.