Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow and a prominent ally of former President Donald Trump, was suspended from Twitter for promoting election conspiracies. A host on the conservative channel Newsmax recently walked out of an interview as the pillow salesman spouted off lies. Major retailers have begun dropping his product, and lawyers have threatened him with “imminent” defamation suits over his baseless allegations.
But Lindell is still pushing the debunked and dangerous claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, most recently in a two-hour video that he paid far-right channel One America News Network to air for 12 hours straight on Friday.
The video, called “Absolute Truth” (which was apparently mistakenly uploaded to YouTube as “Absolue Truth”), is a two-hour cavalcade of conspiracies about election fraud featuring delusional claims and discredited guests, such as Rudy Giuliani’s nationally mocked witness Melissa Carone. Lindell careens through baseless allegations with infomercial pitchman energy, interspersed with stock footage — including arms bearing a hammer and sickle to represent Communism.
“This is an attack not only on those other countries with Communism, but they had domestic traitors right here in our country. Whatever is going on right now we’re seeing it, they’re suppressing ― cancel culture, they’re trying to cancel us all out. I’ve just seen churches, Christian churches, they’re being attacked,” Lindell says frantically, as the video cuts between him and an animation of a rubber stamp that says “cancelled.”
Lindell has become one of the most prominent Trump allies to continue to push the anti-democratic fantasy that President Joe Biden will somehow be removed from office and the 2020 election overturned.
Before Trump left office, Lindell was photographed entering the White House carrying notes that included a suggestion to invoke martial law. Right wing media has nevertheless given Lindell an immense platform, promoting his conspiracies to millions of viewers with appearances on Newsmax, OAN and Fox News’ top-rated host Tucker Carlson’s prime-time show.
At times Lindell has proven to be too far removed from reality, or too much of a legal liability, for hosts to let him air his views unchallenged. OAN, which has heavily promoted baseless election fraud claims in the past, aired Lindell’s video on Friday with a long disclaimer stating that Lindell purchased the airtime and that the channel did not endorse the allegations in the video, which OAN said “are not intended to be taken or interpreted by the viewer as established facts.”
OAN’s disclaimer specifically distances the channel from claims Lindell makes about voting systems from Dominion and Smartmatic, two companies which have been at the center of debunked conspiracy theories alleging they helped rig the election. Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation suit on Thursday against Fox News, stating that the outlet promoted falsehoods about election fraud that damaged the company and contributed to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Dominion has filed similar suits against Trump allies promoting election fraud conspiracy theories, including a damages suit seeking $1.7 billion from Rudy Giuliani. Already many outlets, including Fox News and Newsmax, have issued on-air statements retracting their coverage of the companies.
Dominion lawyers have warned Lindell that a defamation suit against him is “imminent,” while major retailers such as Bed, Bath & Beyond have dropped MyPillow from their stores. Twitter has suspended Lindell from its platform for spreading misinformation, and YouTube removed Lindell’s “Absolute Truth” video within hours of its posting, stating that it violated its community guidelines.
The “Absolute Truth” video was directed by Brannon Howse, the host of a far-right conspiracy network that has aired numerous baseless and debunked claims about the presidential election. Howse is also named as a “researcher” for the video and his son, Logan, is named as a “post-editing assistant.” Last year, Howse put out a far-right conspiracy film that was more than eight hours long and claimed that “the Islamists, the Marxists are trying to overthrow our form of government” and used anti-Semitic tropes of a “globalist” revolution. Howse is also co-host of a home decor show with his wife, Melissa.
Lindell told a Christian YouTube channel this week that he had made the video over the course of five days while “holed up with people guarding me and brought in from all over this country.” During the same appearance, he claimed that Biden’s victory was the result of an international “communist coup” that involved the heads of social media platforms.
“Jack Dorsey — who I’m told is probably gonna end up in prison — he had to be part of this, nobody would do what he did to this country; him and Mark Zuckerbuck [sic] from Facebook,” Lindell said.
Lindell also claimed without evidence that he was speaking to “world leaders” and that his video would exonerate Trump ahead of the former president’s second impeachment trial, for which he is accused of using false election fraud claims to incite the insurrection that killed five people at the Capitol this month.
“I’m gonna try to get to the president and show him this,” Lindell said. “He’s gonna walk into those hearings and they’re gonna give him an apology!”