Person

Gigi Sohn

Profession:

Academic and Media Law Attorney

Nationality:

American

Gigi Sohn is an academic and advocate for left-of-center internet policy, particularly “net neutrality.” In October 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Sohn to serve as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She has faced opposition from Republicans due to a perceived bias against conservatives based on her past statements.

Career

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Gigi Sohn served as executive director of Media Access Project (MAP), a public-interest telecommunications law firm that often represented plaintiffs in front of the FCC. [1] Sohn registered as a lobbyist for MAP in 2007 and 2010. [2] In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Sohn to the Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. [3] [4]

Next, Sohn was a project specialist in the Ford Foundation’s media, arts and culture unit. She ran the grantmaking process for the Foundation’s first media and technology policy portfolio. [5] [6]

From 1997-2000, Sohn sat on the District of Columbia Bar Board of Governors. [7]

In 2001, Sohn co-founded and became CEO of Public Knowledge, a left-of-center advocacy group focused on intellectual property, the digital marketplace, and net neutrality. [8] [9] The Ford Foundation is a major donor to Public Knowledge. She resigned from the position in 2013. [10] [11]

In 2006, Sohn received a Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. [12]

From 2011 to 2013, Sohn was co-chair of the board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group. [13]

From 2013 to 2016, Sohn was special counsel for external affairs to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in the Obama Administration. She heavily advocated for net neutrality and was named one of the “heroes who saved the internet” by pro-net neutrality outlet Daily Dot. [14] [15]

From 2017 to 2018, Sohn was a leadership in government fellow and a Mozilla fellow at the Open Society Foundations. [16] [17] [18]

In 2017, Sohn became a senior fellow and public advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society. [19]

As, of 2021, Sohn is a senior adjunct fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, as well as a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Law, Graduate Studies Program. She previously worked at the University of Southern California Annenberg Center, Georgetown University, and Yeshiva University. [20] [21]

Sohn sits on the boards of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, the Sports Fans Coalition, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She also sits on the advisory board of the Future of Music Coalition. [22] [23] She previously sat on the board of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference and on the advisory board of the Center for Copyright Information. [24]

Nomination for FCC Commissioner

On October 26, 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Gigi Sohn as commissioner of the FCC. If confirmed, she would be the third Democrat on the FCC’s panel, giving the party the 3-2 majority that comes with the Presidency. [25]

During her nomination process, Sohn has faced criticism for past comments and tweets indicating hostility toward conservatives and Republicans. Sohn has said that she believes that “Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy,” calling the news outlet “state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints.” [26] Sohn was also critical of the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group and suggested that the FCC should revoke its broadcasting license. [27]

During the contentious confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sohn also referred to then-Judge Kavanaugh as an “angry white man.” [28]

In response to criticism, Sohn has claimed that her personal views will not interfere with her judgement as an FCC commissioner. [29]

Sohn has received unexpected support from Charles Herring, the president of the right-wing One News Network, who issued a public statement in support, noting that despite some of her personal views and past statements, he considered her an ideological ally on internet issues. [30]

References

  1. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  2. “Lobbyist Profile: Gigi Sohn.” Open Secrets. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/lobbyists/summary?cycle=2010&id=Y0000015086L. ^
  3. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  4. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/. ^
  5. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  6. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/. ^
  7. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  8. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  9. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/. ^
  10. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  11. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/ ^
  12. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  13. Moore, Tom. “Gigi Sohn appointed as special counsel for external affairs – FCC.” Times Arrow. November 4, 2013. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.timesarrow.net/blog/2014/7. ^
  14. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  15. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/ ^
  16. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  17. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/. ^
  18. “Gigi Sohn.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/gigisohn/. ^
  19. “Gigi Sohn.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/gigisohn/. ^
  20. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  21. “About.” Gigi Sohn. Accessed December 2, 2021. http://gigisohn.com/about/. ^
  22. “Gigi Sohn.” Electronic Frontier Foundation. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.eff.org/about/staff/gigi-sohn. ^
  23. “Gigi Sohn.” CS Reports. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/participants-all/1/participants-all/details/107/gigi-sohn. ^
  24. Moore, Tom. “Gigi Sohn appointed as special counsel for external affairs – FCC.” Times Arrow. November 4, 2013. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.timesarrow.net/blog/2014/7. ^
  25. “President Biden nominates Gigi Sohn L’86 to the Federal Communications Commission.” Penn Law. October 26, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/14054-president-biden-nominates-gigi-sohn-l86-to-the. ^
  26. [1] Johnson, Ted. “FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Highlights Conservative Media Support As She Faces Republican Critics At Confirmation Hearing.” Deadline. December 1, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://deadline.com/2021/12/fcc-nominee-gigi-sohn-senate-confirmation-fox-news-1234883212/. ^
  27. Johnson, Ted. “FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Highlights Conservative Media Support As She Faces Republican Critics At Confirmation Hearing.” Deadline. December 1, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://deadline.com/2021/12/fcc-nominee-gigi-sohn-senate-confirmation-fox-news-1234883212/. ^
  28. “Gigi Sohn.” Twitter. September 27, 2018. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://twitter.com/gigibsohn/status/1045390979572928512. ^
  29. Johnson, Ted. “FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Highlights Conservative Media Support As She Faces Republican Critics At Confirmation Hearing.” Deadline. December 1, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://deadline.com/2021/12/fcc-nominee-gigi-sohn-senate-confirmation-fox-news-1234883212/. ^
  30. Johnson, Ted. “Joe Biden’s FCC Nominee Gets An Unexpected Ally: One America News Network’s President.” Deadline. November 10, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2021. https://deadline.com/2021/11/fcc-joe-biden-gigi-sohn-endorsed-by-one-america-news-network-1234871799/. ^
  See an error? Let us know!