Digital rights groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, known for hosting the BattleForTheNet.com action site and mobilizing millions of people in support of net neutrality, have launched a new petition campaign calling on Senate Democrats and the White House to stand up to homophobic attacks on Biden’s FCC nominee Gigi Sohn. See the campaign page here.
In recent days, right-wing news outlets like Fox News and Daily Mail have released similar stories, in an apparent attempt to falsely imply Sohn opposes efforts to combat sex trafficking because she sits on the board of the highly respected Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of dozens of human rights organizations that have opposed SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that claimed to address sex trafficking while actually making it harder to prosecute. EFF issued a thorough statement on the attacks.
Demand Progress Communications Director Maria Langholz issued the following statement alongside the launch of the new petition:
“We’re now closer to the end of President Biden’s first term than we are to the beginning. These past two years, Democrats have controlled both the White House and Senate, yet the FCC remains without its fifth and final commissioner. The public is being failed — it deserves a fully functioning FCC, and it deserves a commissioner like President Biden’s nominee Gigi Sohn, who will fight tirelessly to put the interests of ordinary people over those of telecom giants.
“In the absence of action, the FCC will stay deadlocked and the public will suffer the consequences. As result, unhinged and discredited attacks on Ms. Sohn will continue to percolate in this vacuum. In recent days, we’ve seen homophobic attacks directed at Ms. Sohn, shamefully splashed across headlines in a small number of media outlets in what has all the markings of a coordinated and desperate attack.
“These attacks are as baseless as they are dangerous, and underscore more than ever the time is now for Senate leadership to end this delay. The Senate must reject the cynical and hate-filled politics the public has grown so tired of, and get to the actual work of governing by finally confirming Gigi Sohn to the FCC.”
The petition specifically calls on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, and the Biden White House to condemn the attacks and commit to quickly advancing Sohn’s confirmation. Until Sohn is confirmed, the FCC remains effectively kneecapped: unable to restore net neutrality or broadband privacy rules, unable to update broadband maps or provide proper oversight of the industry, and unable to exercise its authority over cell phone location data, despite the enormous risk that unregulated use of this data poses particularly to abortion rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision.