Several civil rights groups are expressing disappointment after Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s pick for an open Federal Communications Commission seat, yanked her own nomination following a highly-publicized and bumpy process that left her short of votes from both sides of the aisle.
Sohn said in a statement on Tuesday that she was pulling herself out of the running because of “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” on her past work and her character.
The former Democratic FCC staffer would have been the first openly gay commissioner in the regulatory body’s history. However, her past far-left provocations, including showing support for the Defund the Police movement and criticism of right-wing figures, made all Republican senators and even some Democrats uneasy over her apparent bias.
Yvette Scorse, communications director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, blamed anti-LGBTQ bias as the driving force behind her withdrawal.
“Part of the disappointing crush of Gigi Sohn’s FCC withdrawal is the impact of those nasty, bullying, homophobic attacks,” Scorse wrote on Twitter.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said Sohn’s withdrawal was a “huge loss” for civil rights but urged Biden to nominate someone new as soon as possible in order to advance his deadlocked internet agenda.
“The withdrawal of Gigi Sohn’s nomination to serve as commissioner… after 16 months of baseless attacks, is a huge loss for our civil and human rights coalition and the communities we represent. A champion of the issues we care about so deeply and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to be nominated to the FCC, Gigi Sohn was an exemplary, history-making nominee for this position and should have been swiftly confirmed,” said the group’s leader Maya Wiley.
Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner who now works with left-leaning advocacy group Common Cause, lamented Sohn’s treatment by the Senate.
“Senate treatment of this nomination has been, from beginning to end, sad, shoddy, and shameful. And its treatment of Ms. Sohn a despicable dereliction of duty and honor. A win for big-spending special interests, to be sure, but a tragic loss for the common good,” Copps wrote.
With Sohn out of the running, Biden’s agenda for internet access – and Democratic hopes of reinstating net neutrality barriers – remains at an impasse.
“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators. And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that,” Sohn said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sohn withdrew her nomination shortly after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced he would oppose her.