Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Tom Wheeler was confronted outside his home and questioned about his support for an “open Internet” in video posted by an activist group, the Daily Dot reported.
“You’re being sneaky,” one woman tells Wheeler. “You’re trying to sneak through ways that you can please both Comcast and fool the people into thinking with your whole language of ‘I support an open Internet.’ But no, you don’t support an open Internet, because you’re not siding with the people.”
“I have long stated [that] everything is on the table,” Wheeler replies. “I’m working on Title II solutions, and you are blocking my driveway, prohibiting my rights.”
The six protesters, who went to Wheeler’s house on Monday morning, were part of the activist group Popular Resistance. The video begins with Wheeler finding some of them sitting on his driveway, shortly before they unfurl a banner saying, “Save the Internet” directly behind his car and preventing him from leaving.
“I’m protecting your rights,” Wheeler tells one of them. “I’m working for your rights.”
“No, you’re working for Comcast,” the demonstrator replies. “[If you were] working for our rights, you’d do what we say.”
Supporters of net neutrality have criticized Wheeler and the commission for considering a “hybrid” approach to Internet availability in which cable companies would be allowed to implement “fast lanes” and charge higher usage rates for them.
“He’s made it clear that when he goes to work, he’s not working for the public, he’s working for Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, the companies that used to pay his salary when he was a lobbyist for the cable industry,” Popular Resistance co-director Kevin Zeese said in a statement. “The future of the Internet is a life or death matter for marginalized people all over the world. We cannot in good conscience allow this corrupt official to carry on with business as usual.”
President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue on Monday, saying the FCC should scrap the idea of allowing Internet “fast lanes” and reclassify it under Title II rules as a public utility.
Wheeler responded to the president’s statement by saying there was “more work to do” on deciding on how to approach Internet regulations. The Daily Dot reported that the commission is likely to render a final decision in January 2015.
Watch footage of the protest, as posted online on Monday, below.