FCC chairman Ajit Pai, stung by John Oliver-inspired criticism, reads mean tweets about himself

Ajit Pai reads mean tweets
(Image credit: Independent Journal Review/YouTube)

A week ago, John Oliver introduced FCC chairman Ajit Pai to the late-night crowd, criticizing Pai over his proposal to scale back net neutrality safeguards, his love of quoting The Big Lebowski, and his oversize novelty coffee mug. The video drew a strong response from net neutrality advocates and, as Oliver noted in a follow-up segment Sunday night, some rude comments. Pai hit back using Oliver's own medium, late-night TV, borrowing heavily from Jimmy Kimmel Live to read some mean tweets about himself, in collaboration with the conservative Independent Journal Review.

Pai did not read the 140-character insults over the opening arpeggios of REM's "Everybody Hurts" — as an FCC commissioner and lawyer, he's obviously familiar with copyright infringement — but he did stand in front of a brick backdrop and read mean tweets, some of them offensive and others kind of funny. He responded to each tweet, at one point explaining why he hates America with some feeling and at another quoting The Big Lebowski. None of the tweets or responses dealt with net neutrality, but Pai did literally wink at Oliver at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.