Last week, John Oliver warned that Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai was taking aim at net neutrality, and encouraged his viewers to write the FCC to register their opinion on the proposal. It worked, apparently. "The FCC site did get a ton of comments — the number is up to around 1.6 million, and those comments have come from all quarters of the political spectrum," Oliver said in a Last Week Tonight update Sunday night.
Not everyone was celebrating the burst of wonky civic engagement. The FCC complained about hacktivism aimed at the public-comment section, and some conservative commentators, like Liz Harrington at the Washington Free Beacon, discounted all the comments because some of the commenters used obviously fake names. "She is right, some of the comments on the site were faked — but interestingly, many of those were on the other side of this issue," Oliver said, including 128,000 identical comments against net neutrality that appear to be from spam bots.
Harrington also noted that some of the comments were racist. Oliver discouraged anyone from leaving racist messages at the FCC site, with a joke about President Trump thrown in, and again encouraged anyone with non-racist views on net neutrality to comment — just not right now. The FCC is voting on May 18, and won't consider any comment in the week leading up to that, he explained. If you want to know when it's safe to comment again, Oliver said, his GoFCCYourself site will start redirecting people to the FCC comment page again when the time is right. You can watch Oliver's update below, but be warned there is some vulgar, decidedly NSFW discussion of space sex. Peter Weber