One week before his scheduled appearance at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the Consumer Technology Association announced that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai will no longer be attending the show. Pai, who will be missing his first CES in five years, was scheduled to participate in a “candid conversation” alongside acting chairwoman of the FTC Maureen Ohlhausen that was to be moderated by CTA president Gary Shapiro.
It’s easy to assume that Pai is avoiding potential contentious exchanges with members of the tech media who will be on hand for the event. But the moderated conversation itself wouldn’t have been a tricky one for the FCC Chairman to navigate as CTA’s Shapiro has long supported the commission’s work to reverse the net neutrality rules that were put in place in 2015.
The FCC declined comment to a number of tech media organizations. And, in a rather brief statement, CTA simply said, “Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018. We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience.”
The FTC’s Ohlhausen will still be appearing at CES, a CTA spokesperson confirmed to The Verge.
This would have been Pai’s first public appearance at CES as the Chairman of the FCC.