'A Jedi You Are NOT': Mark Hamill slams light saber-wielding FCC chairman over net neutrality

Actor Mark Hamill took a shot at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who earlier in the week had filmed a bizarre video while dressed as Santa Claus. PHOTO: REUTERS

(Washington Post) - Among the many potential consequences of the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality, perhaps none was as unpredictable as a Star Wars marquee actor questioning the Jedi worthiness of the commission's chairman.

But that's exactly what happened on Saturday (Dec 16) when Mark Hamill, best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the space-movie franchise, took a shot at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who earlier in the week had dressed up as Santa Claus and filmed a bizarre video outlining "seven things you can still do on the Internet after net neutrality".

The video, as dad joke-y as they come, included footage of Pai reassuring viewers that they could still "gram" their food even without the Obama-era regulations that prevented Internet providers from speeding up some websites and throttling or blocking others.

Among other head-scratching scenes, Pai also hugged a puppy and danced to the Harlem Shake to convince viewers that they could still "drive memes right into the ground". But the scene Hamill publicly took issue with was one in which Pai donned a black hoodie and swung a lightsabre around while the Star Wars theme played in the background.

"You can still stay part of your fave fandom," the FCC chairman declared.

Hamill, well, struck back. "Cute video Ajit 'Aren't I Precious?' Pai," Hamill tweeted sarcastically, along with a vomiting emoji, before declaring that the FCC chief was "profoundly unworthy" of wielding a lightsabre.

"A Jedi acts selflessly for the common man - NOT lie 2 enrich giant corporations," Hamill wrote.

He also questioned whether Pai had paid composer John Williams any royalties for use of the Star Wars theme song in the video, which was published on Wednesday by the conservative news site Daily Caller. The video, which used music from several copyrighted sources, prompted an online protest led by producer and DJ Harry Rodrigues, who created the Harlem Shake.

Rodrigues (also known as Baauer) vowed to take action, and his record label, Mad Decent, said on Thursday that it would pursue legal recourse if the song was not removed. The video was briefly taken down from YouTube on Friday but restored later, with Harlem Shake still included.

It is unclear whether Hamill was implying in his tweet that similar action would be taken for Pai's use of the Star Wars theme. The 66-year-old actor is known for regularly engaging with his fans on Twitter and has been an outspoken critic of US President Donald Trump and his administration's policies.

Whatever his intention, Hamill, fresh off his appearance in The Last Jedi, finished his diatribe against Pai with a withering hashtag: #AJediYouAreNOT.

With his tweet, Hamill joined a growing list of actors, artists and musicians who have argued that the loss of net neutrality will be detrimental to those in a creative industry. Dozens of artists signed an open letter earlier this month arguing that gutting net neutrality would allow Internet providers to charge fees that would essentially act as a tax on the creative community.

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