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“”In reality, Mr. Lindell is a conspiracy theorist who has been spreading inaccurate information about election fraud since November, when Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the presidential race. Even after the violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, Mr. Lindell went on television to promote the lie that “Donald Trump will be our president for the next four years.”
|—Annie Karni, The New York Times, 16 January 2021|
Michael James Lindell (1961–) is an American businessman, pseudoscience-pusher, conspiracy theorist, wannabe right wing politician, and rabid Republican supporter of Donald Trump. Lindell claims that he was previously a cocaine addict and alcoholic before finding sobriety through Christianity.
His day job is owner of MyPillow, a cushion manufacturer and airwave polluter that has had a longstanding pattern of complaints based on a never-ending 'Buy-One-Get-One' scheme. MyPillow has lost two separate false advertising lawsuits after claiming his pillows could cure insomnia, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis, and was ordered to pay $1 million in each case.
I support Trump, so buy my pillows
Lindell enjoys a symbiotic relationship with right wing conservative media. He attained a kind of cult status for standing by personalities such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham after they were harshly criticized for hate speech and lost many advertisers. Lindell reiterated his support for these people, and in some cases increased advertising on their shows to lengthy infomercial segments. Lindell also heavily advertises on conservative talk radio stations in the Salem Radio Network, and appears on the talk shows hosted by many Salem personalities. Lindell was the largest advertiser on Fox News in 2020, but following Trump's election defeat, has harshly criticized the network's news coverage despite maintaining his commercial relationship with them.
In August 2020, Lindell and Ben Carson began pitching oleandrin, a toxic chemical found in the oleander plant, to Trump as a cure for COVID-19. Lindell has a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnology, the company developing the experimental oleandrin product. There is no evidence that oleandrin works to treat COVID-19 in humans. When Lindell went on CNN to promote this unproven cure, calling it "the miracle of all time", host Anderson Cooper asked him, "How are you different than a snake oil salesman?"
On February 6th 2021, Lindell went on a rant about COVID-19 on a Steve Bannon podcast, describing COVID's supposed connections to the "One World Order", asserting that the COVID-19 vaccine is "mark of the beast stuff", and then going off on a whacknoodle tangent about assorted non-sequiturs (666, Nazi analogies, communism, socialism, etc.).
Election conspiracy theories
After Trump lost the 2020 U.S. presidential election in November 2020, Lindell jumped on the crazy train and began spewing election conspiracy theories and making absurd, incendiary statements. He parroted Trump's false claims that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Georgia governor Brian Kemp sold out Trump by refusing to overturn their state election results. Taking the lead from unhinged Trump lawyer Lin Wood, Lindell said that people who voted against Trump in the state of Georgia should be imprisoned and that Trump should declare martial law. In December 2020, Lindell appeared on the conservative cable network Newsmax and claimed that the voting machines were rigged to give Joe Biden the victory. Lindell has financially backed the post-election efforts of Trumpist lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood.
In January 2021, Dominion Voting Systems warned Lindell of imminent litigation regarding his "false and conspiratorial" claims that Dominion had somehow rigged the 2020 election against Trump. On February 22, 2021, Dominion initiated a US$1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Lindell and MyPillow.
2021 coup attempt and fraudulent claims about election fraud
Lindell's rhetoric and support helped lay the groundwork for the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6th, 2021. He sponsored a two week "March for Trump" bus tour in December 2020, in which he continued to propagate assorted conspiracy theories regarding the election. Lindell sponsored and participated in the pre-riot warm-up show (Trump rally), and had even spoken the day before at rallies in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Lindell is a supporter of the Right Side Broadcasting Network, an obscure pro-Trump television propaganda outlet. Following the violence and failed coup, Lindell refused to back down on his election conspiracy bullshit, instead spouting more false claims, this time the "Antifa did 1/6" conspiracy theory.
Following up the failed coup attempt of January 6, Lindell was invited to the White House, where he apparently intended to present a memo outlining plans for martial law. Lindell subsequently claimed ignorance of the memo (the contents of which were partially-photographed in his hand by the Washington Post), claiming that an unnamed lawyer had asked him to give it to Trump.
Lindell was permanently banned from Twitter on January 26, 2021 for making false claims about the 2020 election. On Tucker Carlson's show that evening, Lindell claimed that his Twitter account was taken over by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and that posts from his account in the days prior to the account's suspension were fabricated by Twitter staff. In reality, Lindell is delusional. Twitter doesn't need a reason to suspend accounts; it's a private company offering a free service. Demonstrating what bullshit that excuse was, Lindell then decided to use the official corporate MyPillow Twitter account to continue tweeting his crazy whines about election fraud and Dorsey. This got the corporate MyPillow Twitter account suspended as well (for ban evasion) on February 1, 2021.
Much of Lindell's election fraud arguments (similarly to those by Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and others) revolved around baseless fraud allegations involving voting machines, especially those made by Dominion Voting Systems. In January 2021, Dominion got sick and tired of all the inane bullshit Lindell was spouting off, infringing on his untouchable freeze-peach by sending him a cease-and-desist letter, threatening to sue for defamation if he didn't recant his accusations. Lindell's response was defiant, welcoming a potential lawsuit and confident that he somehow had "100% evidence that China and other countries used their machines to steal the election." On February 2nd, Lindell appeared on Newsmax to talk about his Twitter suspensions, and whether they fit into the "cancel culture" narrative often pushed by conservative media. Newsmax previously was also promoting baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, however on December 21, 2020, another voting machine company, Smartmatic, sent them a cease and desist letter, which tempered the conspiracy talk considerably. Not knowing the difference between mere garden variety bullshit and potentially slanderous bullshit, Lindell went off-topic and ranted baseless conspiracies about Dominion voting machines. This forced Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers to read a prepared disclaimer that "we at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations" and try to steer Lindell back on the "cancel culture" narrative. Eventually this led to Sellers walking off the set, having failed to stop Lindell from committing potential slander.
On February 5, 2021, teaming up with Brannon Howse and his "WorldViewWeekend" fake news outlet (to the point where Lindell offered a "WVW" coupon code, and assurance that a portion of every MyPillow purchase would support Howse's batshit insanity), Lindell released a "documentary" called Absolute Proof. The "documentary" consists of two hours of Lindell and a few other talking heads babbling the same tired, debunked claims of election fraud that had gotten Donald Trump's "legal team" laughed out of court over 60 times in the previous 3 months. Lindell then purchased airtime on One America News Network so he could air this bullshit documentary for 12 hours straight. (Although, in a half-hearted attempt to shirk responsibility from any potential libel lawsuits, even OAN felt the need to air a disclaimer distancing themselves from Lindell before the beginning of every showing.)
- If Trump Doesn’t Keep You Up All Night, MyPillow Will (New York Magazine, 19 January 2021)
- MyPillow's History Is Not Very Comfy - Goes into detail about some of the shady things MyPillow (and by extension Lindell) have done, including the false advertising lawsuits, the BOGO fiasco, and the fake COVID cure.
- Annie Karni, Who is Mike Lindell, one of Trump’s last remaining supporters from corporate America? The New York Times, 16 January 2021.
- Steve Karnowski, MyPillow Guy among the Trump acolytes picking up the torch. Associated Press, 23 January 2021.
- Kyle Swenson, From crack cocaine to Mar-a-Lago: The unusual journey of the MyPillow man. Seattle Times, 8 April 2018.
- Business Profile: My Pillow, Inc. Better Business Bureau.
- My Pillow Settles Consumer Lawsuit Over Health Claims for $1 Million: Company was accused by California consumer groups of misleading advertising by Mary H.J. Farrell (November 03, 2016) Consumer Reports.
- Jeremy Barr, Tucker Carlson’s biggest advertiser, the MyPillow guy, doesn’t think Carlson needed to apologize for writer's hate speech. Archived from the original at The Washington Post, 14 July 2020.
- Jon Levine, My Pillow Chief Stands Behind Laura Ingraham and Other Fox News Ads: ‘I Don’t Boycott Any Station’. thewrap.com, 28 February 2019.
- Jeremy Barr, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell is now one of Fox’s loudest right-wing critics. He’s still one of its biggest advertisers. Archived from the original at The Washington Post, 10 January 2021.
- Did MyPillow Offer Discounts With Codes Like 'QAnon' and More? CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump supporter, has long promoted false claims and conspiracy theories. by Nur Ibrahim (20 January 2021) Snopes.
- MyPillow CEO says Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, Wayfair are dropping his products: Mike Lindell, a major Republican donor, has repeatedly pushed false claims that widespread voter fraud cost President Trump the 2020 election. by Taylor Telford (Jan. 19, 2021 at 10:36 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Nicole Lyn Pesce, 4 facts about oleandrin, an unproven coronavirus treatment reportedly pitched to Trump. marketwatch.com, 18 August 2020.
- Ross Pomeroy, The worst junk science of 2020 tied to the coronavirus pandemic. masslive.com, 19 December 2020.
- Junk Science in 2020. schachtmanlaw.com, 17 December 2020.
- Megan Brooks, Experts Reject Oleander Extract as COVID Treatment. WebMD, 19 August 2020.
- Joe Schwarcz, Planting a Toxic Oleander Seed. McGill University Office for Science and Society, 19 August 2020.
- Nicole Lyn Pesce, MyPillow fight: CNN’s Anderson Cooper tears into Mike Lindell over claim that oleandrin is a coronavirus cure. marketwatch.com, 18 August 2020.
- Steven Novella, Oleandra – The New COVID Snake Oil. Science-Based Medicine, 19 August 2020.
- "Horrible My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell calls COVID-19 Vaccine Mark of the Beast Stuff by Christina Zhao, Newsweek, 2021 February 7
- "MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Goes on Steve Bannon’s Podcast, Calls Covid-19 Vaccine ‘The Mark of the Beast’" by Zachary Petrizzo, Mediate.com, 2021 Februrary 6
- Benjamin Fearnow, Mike Lindell, MyPillow CEO, Tweets, Then Deletes Call for Trump to 'Impose Martial Law'. Newsweek, 20 December 2020.
- Lindsey Ellefson, Newsmax Host Sebastian Gorka Cuts Off MyPillow CEO’s Debunked Voting Machine Claims Amid Legal Threat (Video). thewrap.com, 22 December 2020.
- Asawin Suebsaeng, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Is Throwing Down Big Money to Fuel Pro-Trump Election Challenges. The Daily Beast, 19 December 2020.
- Dominion threatens MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell with lawsuit over ‘false and conspiratorial' claims by Hannah Knowles & Emma Brown (Jan. 18, 2021 at 3:49 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Alexa Corse, Dominion Sues MyPillow, CEO Mike Lindell Over Election Claims; The voting-machine maker’s lawsuit alleges defamation, seeks more than $1.3 billion in damages. Archived from the original at The Wall Street Journal, 22 February 2021.
- David D. Kirkpatrick, Mike McIntire and Christiaan Triebert, Before the Capitol Riot, Calls for Cash and Talk of Revolution. The New York Times, 16 January 2021.
- Joseph Tanfani, Michael Berens, and Ned Parker, How Trump’s pied pipers rallied a faithful mob to the Capitol. Reuters, 11 January 2021.
- David Corn, Sponsors of the Pre-Attack Rally Have Taken Down Their Websites. Don’t Forget Who They Were. Mother Jones, 12 January 2021.
- A pillow salesman apparently has some ideas about declaring martial law by Philip Bump (Jan. 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Trump to flee Washington and seek rehabilitation in a MAGA oasis: Florida by Philip Rucker et al. (Jan. 16, 2021 at 2:01 p.m. PST) The Washington Post.
- Brakkton Booker, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell Permanently Suspended From Twitter. NPR, 26 January 2021.
- William Bredderman, This Ex-SNL Star Is Giving MyPillow Guy the Floor for His Conspiracy Rants. The Daily Beast, 30 January 2021.
- "The MyPillow guy tweeted his company's official Twitter account into a permanent ban" by Caitlin Welsh, Mashable, 2021 February 1
- "Lindell says Twitter ban won't stop his effort to claim election fraud" by Kristen Leigh Painter, Stephen Montemayor and Kristen Leigh Painter and Stephen Montemayor, Star Tribune, 2021 January 26
- "Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell" by Ursula Perano, Axios, 2021 January 18
- "Fox News, Newsmax Walk Back Election Fraud Claims After Voting Machine Manufacturer Threatens Legal Action" by Jernima McEvoy, Forbes, 2020 December 21
- "Newsmax anchor walks off set after failing to stop MyPillow CEO's false rigged-election rant" by Bill Keveney, USA Today, 2021 February 2
- "Absolute Proof: Exposing Election Fraud and The Theft of America by Enemies Foreign and Domestic" by Brannon Howse, Worldview Weekend, 2021 February 5
- "Mike Lindell’s Election Fraud Movie ‘Absolute Proof’ Has Absolutely No Proof" by Paul Blest, Vice, 2021 February 5
- "By the numbers: President Donald Trump's failed efforts to overturn the election" by William Cummings, Joey Garrison, and Jim Sergent, USA Today, 2021 Jan 6
- "OAN to air three-hour movie from MyPillow CEO" by Cameron Jenkins, Hill, 2021 February 5
- Matthew Gertz, OAN is airing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's documentary about how the election was stolen for twelve consecutive hours today. Here's the disclaimer at the top indicating that it is paid programming, "opinion only," and OAN doesn't endorse statements re: Dominion/Smartmatic. Archived from the original on Twitter, 5 February 2021.